PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A 2018 plan by then-Governor Dennis Daugaard’s administration to have many adults in Minnehaha and Pennington counties work in return for Medicaid benefits never went forward, because the federal agency didn’t respond to South Dakota’s application.
That’s according to state Department of Social Services Secretary Laurie Gill. President Biden’s administration sent letters to states Friday halting waivers issued by the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare under President Trump and rescinding the offer. More than half the states applied.
There is currently no mandatory work requirement tied to the Medicaid program in South Dakota, Gill said Friday in a written statement to KELOLAND News.
“Currently, the only way a state Medicaid program can implement mandatory work requirements is to obtain a waiver from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). The Dept. of Social Services submitted a waiver request in July, 2018. As of today, DSS has not yet received a response from CMS,” Gill said.
South Dakota’s Career Connector was to focus on Sioux Falls and Rapid City, the two largest cities in the state. The 32-page waiver application proposed cutting off benefits after three months of non-compliance. More than 200 pages of public comments were included in the August 10, 2018, packet.
The plan called for the state Department of Labor and Regulation to be responsible for “conducting the employment assessment, identifying the integrated resource team, developing the employment and training plan, identifying monthly milestones, tracking achievement of monthly milestones, and tracking/verifying hours worked” and to notify Social Services when a Medicaid recipient in the program didn’t fulfill the requirements.
“Closure of the participant’s Medicaid eligibility will not affect the eligibility of a child, spouse, or other household member that is not required to participate,” the application said.
An estimated 15% of the approximately 1,300 participants in the two counties would have become ineligible annually because of increased income or choosing to not participate, according to the plan, which calculated the 1,300 received approximately $9,672,000 from Medicaid in federal fiscal 2017.
Daugaard spoke about the plan in his State of the State speech opening the 2018 legislative session and distributed a governor’s column on it. After winning election in November 2018, Governor Kristi Noem chose Greg DeSautel to replace Lynne Valenti as secretary, then tapped Gill in mid-2019 following DeSautel’s resignation.