Washington, DC (KELO AM) — U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) joined a group of 20 Senators in calling on state governors to expand Medicaid in their states. In a letter to the 18 governors who have yet to undertake the expansion, Senator Johnson and his colleagues urged the governors to put aside their political differences and expand the Medicaid program. By refusing to do so, these governors are denying millions of individuals access to life-saving health care and preventive health services.
“Denying health care for 48,000 South Dakotans and millions of Americans is simply wrong,” Johnson said. “Expanding Medicaid would provide our most vulnerable citizens with access to important preventive services and basic health care. It is time for state governors and legislators, including ours in South Dakota, to work together with the Administration to find a path forward to expand Medicaid for hard working South Dakotans and Americans.”
To date, approximately 6 million Americans, including 48,000 South Dakotans, are not getting the coverage they are eligible for under the Affordable Care Act because of the refusal of state leaders to expand Medicaid in these 18 states. As part of the Affordable Care Act, states are able to expand their Medicaid program eligibility in 2014 to cover all citizens living at 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). In South Dakota, that amounts to an individual earning roughly $15,700 and just under $27,000 for a family of three. The federal government will pay the full cost of Medicaid expansion through 2016 and provide significant funding in the out years.
The letter was also signed by Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
The letter was sent to Governors Robert Bentley (R-Ala.), Sean Parnell (R-Alaska), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), Butch Otter (R-Idaho), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Bobby Jindal (R-La.), Paul LePage (R-Maine), Phil Bryant (R-Mississippi), Dave Heineman (R-Neb.), Pat McCroy (R-N.C.), Mary Fallin (R-Okla.), Nikki Haley (R-S.C.), Dennis Daugaard (R-S.D.), Bill Haslam (R-Tenn.), Rick Perry (R-Texas), Scott Walker (R-Wis.), and Matt Mead (R-Wyo.).
Courtesy: Senator Tim Johnson