Now that President Barack Obama's re-election has cleared the way for his health care law, South Dakota doctors and hospitals are urging the state to expand its Medicaid program so thousands of additional low-income residents can receive coverage.
Officials representing hospitals and the State Medical Association say all patients will suffer if an additional 48,000 uninsured people are not added to Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor. They say hospitals now must pass along the costs of treating those people to insured patients.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard says he will consider expanding Medicaid in South Dakota, but not until the state knows more about the potential costs. He said any expansion would be unlikely before 2015. Coverage under the new health law is scheduled to begin in 2014.