Expanding South Dakota's Medicaid program to tens of thousands of low-income South Dakotans could benefit the state, but not without taking some risks.
Those are the findings of a Task Force appointed by the Governor.
According to the report, more than 48,000 South Dakotans would be newly eligible to be covered by Medicaid. A survey shows those newly covered would be young, between the ages of 18 and 34, and most don't have children. A majority are employed and more than half work full time.
The pricetag for Medicaid expansion will cost South Dakota an extra $1.5 million in the first year. The federal government picks up $58.3 million in 2014.
If Medicaid is not expanded, the Task Force report estimates that 26,000 South Dakotans will be left without coverage because they don't qualify for Medicaid and can't afford health insurance on their own.
The Task Force also points out that if the federal government is unable to pay it's share of the expansion, there is a risk that taxpayers could end up footing the entire bill, which will amount to more than $409 million by the year 2020.
The Task Force report is only a review of the issue, so it will be up to the Governor to make a formal recommendation during the upcoming legislative session.