[Note: for more info on the proposed Medicaid expansion, see our earlier post on this issue.]
There is an article in today’s Argus Leader about the shortfall in pay to nursing homes by the State of SD for Medicaid patients. Here are some of my thoughts on the issue.
South Dakota has the opportunity to take the Medicaid option in the Affordable Healthcare Act, which would put the majority of the cost of Medicaid on the Federal Government for the next three years, giving states the opportunity to figure out how to share more of the burden three years from now. But our Governor doesn’t want to take that option because he and some of his party have no confidence in our country to get out of the fiscal mess that we find ourselves in. Notice that he and they are not telling the Federal government that they can’t continue to use our National Guard troops to fight their unnecessary wars.
As the article points out the shortfall in payments to the nursing homes by medicaid is picked up by those who are private payers to the nursing homes. The same can be said of the folks who are on Medicaid for their healthcare. If they cannot pay, the cost is passed on to anyone else seeking healthcare which of course raises the cost of healthcare for all of us. And the cost is generally a lot higher because rather than seeing the doctor during regular hours, they end up going to the emergency room which is infinitely more expensive.
On Monday the House State Affairs Committee will hold hearings on HB1244, the governor’s bill to prohibit the State of South Dakota from taking the Medicaid option offered in the Affordable Healthcare Act. The hearing and vote are this Monday (2/4) at 7:45. Urge the Representatives on the committee to oppose HB1244.
Then there is a bill that will come up later in the week or perhaps the following week, HB1205, which does just the opposite. It mandates that South Dakota take advantage of the Medicaid option in the Affordable Healthcare Act. If you are interested in this issue, I would ask that you contact your State legislators and ask for their opposition to HB1244 and their support of HB1205.
–Lanny Stricherz lives in Sioux Falls and is a longtime friend of the SD Peace & Justice Center