South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard stopped in Eagle Butte on Monday morning to discuss his plan to expand Medicaid.
Daugaard spoke at the C-EB auditorium to high school students and members of the general public. He unveiled his plan to expand Medicaid to 50,000 South Dakotan’s who are currently ineligible for Medicaid, and who can not afford insurance.
Daugaard explained the breakdown of Medicaid costs and how they are shared with the federal government. Daugaard stated that currently there are 118,000 South Dakotans on Medicaid, of which 67% or children. Daugaard explained that with the current Medicaid structure, the federal goverment pays 52% of the cost of care while the State of South Dakota pays 48% and in 2015.
Daugaard explained that in 2015, $139 million dollars was spent on health care for Native Americans in the state through the Medicaid program. Of that $139M, $72M was federal and $67 million was state funds.
Daugaard said that under treaty rights, the federal goverment is required to provide health care to Native Americans. Under his plan, Daugaard is trying to get the federal government to pay 100% of the cost of Native Americans who utilize Medicaid.
“To expand Medicaid in South Dakota, by 2022 it would cost the state $57M dollars a year,” said Daugaard.
Daugaard stated that if the federal goverment was to cover 100% of the cost for Native Americans, the state would save $67M and be able to absorb the $57M cost of expansion.
With the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, a state can expand Medicaid to include more low income residents over five years.
The first year of expansion would be free, with the federal goverment paying the 100% cost of expansion. With each passing year, the feds would lower their share until they reached a 90/10 share with the state of South Dakota, which comes out to $57M.