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  • Writer's pictureShannon Douvier

AFSCME Council 65 partners with grassroots group to expand Medicaid in South Dakota

Updated: May 11, 2021

AFSCME Council 65 is proud to announce its partnership with Dakotans for Health, to grow the grassroots effort to expand Medicaid in South Dakota.
"Proud to join Dakotans for Health"

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

AFSCME Council 65 is proud to announce its partnership with Dakotans for Health, to grow the grassroots effort to expand Medicaid in South Dakota. Council 65 President Mark Reger and International Vice President Shannon Douvier issued the following statement:

Affordable healthcare is a key priority for AFSCME 65 members. Our healthcare workers chose this field to help improve health outcomes in their communities. This can only be done if our communities have access to quality and affordable healthcare. Today in South Dakota we have an opportunity to improve access to care for thousands of our family, friends, and neighbors.
Compared to our six neighboring states, only Wyoming has a high rate of uninsured residents. South Dakota’s 9.8 united rate is more than double the rates of Minnesota and Iowa.* The income of families without insurance on average is drastically lower than those with insurance. Providing low-income families with an affordable insurance option allows them to seek care they could otherwise not afford.
The status quo is too high, we cannot afford to continue leaving thousands without access to healthcare. The proposed ballot measure would cover thousands of South Dakota Residents making less than $17,000 a year and would utilities nearly $300 million dollars in federal support in its first year. This federal funding is contingent on expanding Medicaid now.
The need for better access to healthcare has never been greater in South Dakota. That is why AFSCME Council 65 is proud to join the efforts of Dakotans for Health and all who are part of this grassroots campaign to support thousands in our communities.

The partnership follows a recent endorsement of the grassroots group by the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Association and come on the heals of several others Dakotans for Health has received from the states spiritual institutions, rural organizing networks, as well as the AFL-CIO.

The non-partisan South Dakota Legislative Research Council has estimated that 42,500 people would be eligible for Medicaid health insurance if the ballot measure is successful. South Dakota is one of 12 states that has refused to participate in the program.

About Dakotans for Health

Dakotans for Health, an emerging group of public officials, caregivers, health care advocates, and concerned citizens supporting the expansion of Medicaid. We have released COMPREHENSIVE MATERIALS for our volunteers to start circulating a petition for a Constitutional Amendment to expand Medicaid. Get yours today!

About AFSCME Council 65

AFSCME Council 65 represents over 14,000 public and private sector workers in Minnesota and the Dakotas. From nurses to highway crews, school workers to peace officers, our members provide the vital services that make our communities work.

AFSCME’s 1.6 million members nationwide advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services, and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.

What AFSCME Members are saying


Additional Information

AFL-CIO backs grassroots organizing seeking to expand Medicaid

You can view the full AFL-CIO endorsement HERE

Great Plains Tribal Chairmen endorse Dakotans for Health

You can view the full post and endorsement HERE

Urgent! Help us refer HJR 5003. A plot by the South Dakota legislature to kill Medicaid expansion!

House Joint Resolution 5003 is aimed to kill Medicaid expansion

Dakotans for Health submitted a HJR 5003 referral petition to the state on March 11th which was rejected by the Secretary of State and is challenging that decision in the South Dakota Supreme Court. You can learn more about this and get involved HERE.


Help Secure Ballot Access for Medicaid Expansion and Defeat HJR 5003

Support the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Association. Make a donation to expand Medicaid and defend voting rights in South Dakota. You can donate online HERE.

Obama Campaign Manager Steve Hildebrand on the importance of Grassroots Organizing and Dakotans for Health's campaign to expand Medicaid:

You can watch the full episode with Steve HERE

Message from Montana Governor Steve Bullock to Dakotans for Health petition circulators:

You can watch the full episode with Governor Bullock HERE

One neighbor. Helping another. That's something Tom Daschle understands.

You can watch the full episode with Senator Daschle HERE

Get involved. Volunteer, start circulating a petition, and donate! Text "Medicaid" to (772) 577-2336

Dakotans for Health volunteer QR code.
Join our Grassroots Network (open your camera app and point)

Circulate a Medicaid Expansion Petition (How to)

Want to circulate a petition? We have been on the streets since November of last year! You can find everything you need HERE.

HHS Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield supports Dakotans for Health and you can too!

You can watch the full episode with Secretary Wakefield HERE

Earl Pomeroy knows a thing or two because he's seen a thing or two.

You can watch the full episode with Congressman Pomeroy HERE

KELO: League of Women Voters Medicaid Expansion Petition Signing Event With Dakotans For Health

You can view the full KELO story HERE


South Dakota is one of twelve states who has yet to expand Medicaid under the ACA
North Dakota expanded Medicaid in 2015. The program has brought hundreds of millions of additional dollars into the state:
Montana expanded Medicaid in 2015 as well. The program brings an additional $600 Million a year to the state:

Visual Learner Summary: according to the fiscal note released by the South Dakota Legislative Research Council last July, South Dakota, upon the expansion of Medicaid, will $15 back for every $1 it puts in. A 15:1 Return On Investment.


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