SD Senate Kills Medicaid Expansion Bill, Backers Now Focus on Ballot Measure

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      A proposal to expand Medicaid health coverage eligibility has been defeated 23-12 in the South Dakota Senate, but an initiative drive that put an essentially identical idea on the November ballot continues to move forward. 

      Republican leaders in South Dakota have opposed expanding Medicaid ever since the option was made available with the passage a decade ago of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

      The defeated bill, which was sponsored by Republican Senator Wayne Steinhauer, would have opened up Medicaid to those making up to 133% of the federal poverty line, bringing coverage to another 42,000 South Dakotans. 

      The constitutional amendment placed on the ballot by the petition drive is backed by South Dakota’s major health care systems.

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