South Dakota’s citizens have been working for a long time to get Medicaid expansion in their state, and they got it done Tuesday, becoming the seventh state where citizens had to overrule their elected officials to get the same access to health coverage enjoyed by millions of their fellow Americans.
The organizers there also learned from the experience of their six predecessors—Maine, Idaho, Utah, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Missouri—where state legislators and governors have fought every step of the way to try to entirely disregard, toss, or undermine the voters’ will on this. South Dakota voted to put the expansion in their state constitution, 56% to 44%
The Kanas constitutional amendment extends Medicaid eligibility to anyone making less than 133% of the poverty level, which is about $18,000 for a single person and $36,900 for a family of four. This would bring about 45,000 South Dakotans into Medicaid coverage, about 14,000 of whom have no other option at all for other access to health coverage. The measure calls for the state to get it done by July 1, 2023, and also bars the state from making it harder for people to qualify with extra rules like work requirements, which the state has been trying to get approval from the federal government to do.
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