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  • Writer's pictureRemi Bald Eagle

Cheyenne River Sioux Leader Joins Medicaid Expansion Effort

Updated: May 18, 2021

Remi Beautiful Bald Eagle will Build Back Better with Dakotans for Health

Eagle Butte, South Dakota

Dakotans For Health, leading a grass-roots effort to expand Medicaid in South Dakota, welcomes Remi Beautiful Bald Eagle as the organization’s Native Outreach Advocate & Spokesperson. Remi currently serves as the Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. He and his wife Alaina, and their daughter Hope, live in Eagle Butte. Remi ran as a Democrat for the SD Public Utilities Commission in 2020.

The organization remains hopeful they will obtain the goal of 65,000 signatures to place a Medicaid expansion measure on the 2022 ballot as an amendment to the state’s constitution. Bald Eagle plans to enlist the help of tribal leaders and native people statewide in the organization’s efforts.

For years, leaders have hoped to expand healthcare options in South Dakota, yet it does not happen. I am honored to be a part of Dakotans for Health and take this opportunity to engage tribal leaders and native people across the state on this important issue. Now is the time, and we will see this through,” stated Remi Beautiful Bald Eagle.

South Dakota remains one of only twelve states in the country that has yet to offer access to Medicaid health insurance to thousands of South Dakotans. According to the nonpartisan South Dakota Legislative Research Council (LRC), the Medicaid expansion measure, if passed, would cover over 42,000 South Dakotans who make less than $17,000 a year, 133% of the federal poverty level. This means added healthcare coverage in remote and rural places where approximately half of the state’s indigenous population resides.

Dakotans For Health’s Grassroots Organizer Pam Cole states, “Remi is a trusted statewide leader and a master at cultural and governmental bridge building. He will provide valuable insight as to how Medicaid Expansion will help native people that live on or off South Dakota's nine reservations, allowing us to build our state from within.”

The LRC also estimated that in the first year of implementation, South Dakota would receive $301,800,000 (million) in Federal support for up to a $20,800,000 (million) investment, a +15:1return on investment (ROI). The economic impact of Medicaid Expansion would shore up ailing rural healthcare systems, and allow county taxes to be rerouted to infrastructure rather than paying for unrecovered healthcare costs.

“People are suffering needlessly. Medicaid Expansion would mean better access to preventative healthcare, mental health services, prenatal and delivery care, plus support medical infrastructure already in place in our rural Indian communities. In many cases, we have buildings but lack doctors and nursing staff,” continued Beautiful Bald Eagle.

South Dakota has the highest percentage of uninsured low income adults (18-65) in the nation, and South Dakota’s Native American population is over-represented in these dire statistics. Expanded Medicaid would supplement the abysmally federal funded Indian Health Services.

“Babies are rarely born on the reservation anymore; native mothers have scheduled C-sections in advance of their due dates. They deliver their newborns at hospitals hours away from their homes and families. This is 2020 not 1820; we can do better than this.” concluded Remi Beautiful Bald Eagle.

Healthcare and the Heartland

Join special guest Remi Beautiful Bald Eagle Thursday March 25th at 8 pm CT via Zoom, as we discuss indigenous healthcare and native healthcare access in South Dakota. Click HERE to register.


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!


Help Secure Ballot Access for Medicaid Expansion

Make a donation to help expand Medicaid in South Dakota. You can donate online via ActBlue HERE. You can Make a donation via check our money order HERE.

Obama Campaign Manager Steve Hildebrand: A Fighter from the Grassroots!

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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