PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Five organizations contributed $1.1 million last year to the drive that put the Medicaid-eligibility expansion question on South Dakota’s 2022 general-election ballot for voters to decide this November.
South Dakotans Decide Healthcare reported that its campaign last year raised $1,101,701.00 and received another $139,334.24 in donated goods and services while spending $937,624.07.
Meanwhile, backers of a June primary ballot question that, if passed, would make the Medicaid eligibility expansion get 60% support in November to pass showed no financial activity for 2021.
But that group, South Dakotans Against Higher Taxes, reported one organization, Americans For Prosperity, spent $339,423.39 in donated goods and services on its behalf last year.
The anti-expansion group is chaired by state Representative Jon Hansen, R-Dell Rapids, who is the No. 2-presiding officer for the House, and Senator Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, the top member of the Senate.
Hansen and Schoenbeck engineered the effort last year by Republicans in the Legislature that put the 60% question on the June primary ballot. They want the higher threshold to be in effect ahead of the November general election for any measure that “obligates the state to appropriate funds of ten million dollars or more in any of the first five fiscal years after enactment.”
The state Legislative Research Council has estimated Medicaid expansion would cost state government $32,565,000 in year one and that would gradually climb to $33,939,000 in year five.
The five groups that contributed directly to the Medicaid expansion campaign last year were SDAHO Enterprises of Sioux Falls $250,000; Avera Health of Sioux Falls $250,000; Sanford Health of Sioux Falls $250,000; South Dakota Farmers Union of Huron $250,000; and Monument Health of Rapid City $100,000.
Contributing goods and services to the Medicaid-expansion effort were AARP of Sioux Falls $54,403.03; The American Heart Association of Dallas, Texas, $488.33; American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network of Sioux Falls $42,745.35; and The Fairness Project of Washington, D.C., $41,697.53.
A separate Medicaid-expansion effort by a group calling itself Dakotans for Health reported for last year raising $153,875.50 and spending $154,113.52. The group, headed by Rick Weiland, collected signatures for a separate measure on expansion but didn’t file the petitions with the South Dakota secretary of state.
Meanwhile, Senator Wayne Steinhauer, R-Hartford, has introduced two pieces of legsilation on Medicaid expansion in the 2022 session. One would create a Medicaid expansion fund. The other would expand Medicaid eligibility.
Last year Steinhauer voted for putting the 60% threshold requirement on the June primary ballot. It passed 18-17 through the Senate and received final passage 51-17 from the House.