HURON, S.D. – Following the Nov. 8 vote, South Dakota Farmers Union members join with the majority of South Dakotans in celebrating the passage of Amendment D.
“Medicaid expansion keeps our tax dollars in South Dakota and it will help farm and ranch families access healthcare,” said Doug Sombke, President of South Dakota Farmers Union. “Our rural communities are losing necessary health care facilities. Medicaid expansion will help keep rural healthcare facilities open. Passing this initiated measure will save lives.”
In the long-term, Sombke said expanding Medicaid for those workers who cannot afford insurance, may actually bring down all insurance premiums. He points to North Dakota as an example. “The state to the north of us has had Medicaid expansion since it was first made available. Today, insurance premiums are lower because more people are healthier because North Dakotans have access to preventative care.”
Making healthcare available to working South Dakotans is the reason Jim Woster is happy Amendment D passed.
“I see employed people in Sioux Falls where I live, and farm families I know, who cannot afford health insurance because they simply cannot pay for it and cover all other living expenses,” explained Woster, a retired cattle buyer and agriculture columnist/Associate Editor of Tri-State Neighbor.
Woster echoes Sombke’s comments on Medicaid expansion’s role in providing access to non-emergency and preventive care.
“As South Dakotans if we cannot pay for something, we don’t do it,” Woster said. “Now that young, working families will have access to health insurance, they can take their sick child in to the local clinic for antibiotics or another treatment, before they need to take their child into the emergency room with pneumonia.”
Woster added it is also nice to keep federal tax dollars South Dakotans’ were paying for Medicaid expansion in other states, in the state.
A united effort to support more than 42,000 working South Dakotans
South Dakota Farmers Union was among a collation of more than 40 organizations to advocate for expanding Medicaid in South Dakota.
“We worked with organizations who we do not often have much in common with. We set aside issues we do not agree on, to work together on the issue we do agree on. This was refreshing,” Sombke said.
Medicaid expansion will help an estimated 42,000 South Dakotans receive access to health insurance.