SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Minnehaha County Commissioners take a neutral stance when it comes to Medicaid expansion.
The first motion on the topic to expand Medicaid died quickly when county commissioners didn't second Commissioner Jeff Barth's motion supporting the idea.
Then the topic came back to life when Commissioner John Pekas followed up with the opposite motion. He says it was one way of keeping the discussion going, putting the commission's neutral stance on the record.
"The position that the commission took is consistent with the Association of County Commissioners to stay neutral, just like the governor's office," Pekas said.
Commissioner Dick Kelly also mentioned following Governor Dennis Daugaard's lead.
"He's opposed to the legislation but he's going to let the legislature solve it," Kelly said.
In the end, a two to two vote by commissioners means the motion dies for a lack of a majority.
Barth isn't disappointed with the outcome. He believes more research into the financial impact on the county is needed.
"They're opening new hospitals and advertising for Medicaid and Medicare customers in Florida every week. So if they're losing money on it, why are they asking people to come in?" Barth said.
While a few numbers were shared at the meeting, they did not give commissioners a true picture what expansion will cost. The county currently pays about $1 million a year for poor residents. However that doesn't include the costs of behavioral health services, addiction counseling or health care at the county jail.
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