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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Helland

Dakota Rural Action endorses grassroots effort to bring Medicaid to rural South Dakota

Updated: May 24, 2021

Medicaid Expansion Petition Counter 10,000 for June 2021!

Rural South Dakota

Dakota Rural Action is excited to announce that we have joined Dakotans for Health’s campaign to expand Medicaid. Said Dakota Rural Action Anthony Helland.

“The expansion of Medicaid would provide health insurance for approximately 42,000 working class South Dakotans who need it. Who would this affect? Parents including young farmers and farm families who work hard, but struggle to pay for health insurance through the farm enterprise, seniors close to retirement who have lost their health insurance and South Dakotans caught in the coverage gap, meaning they make too much to be eligible for Medicaid but not enough to buy health insurance on their own.

South Dakota is one of 12 states that has refused to participate in the program.

“We know that having insurance is critical to getting medical care, especially preventative care and life saving prescription drugs. South Dakota has the highest percent share of uninsured adults living in rural counties in the country. Medicaid expansion would help us get that number down and bring thousands of jobs into our rural economy. We are proud to be involved and want to thank Dakotans for Health, the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, and the South Dakota AFL-CIO for taking it on” continued Helland.

Dakotans for Health Co-Founder Adam Weiland said the org was thrilled to have the support of one of the most prominent rural organizing networks.

“No one has more skin in the game on Medicaid expansion than South Dakota. It is critical to the long term success of our rural communities especially the farm enterprise and farm families who power South Dakota’s economy. Medicaid expansion will provide them more insurance options so they can focus on doing what they do best feeding the world. We are excited to get Anthony and Frank and their members started on circulating petitions.”

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. The group has until November 2nd of this year to collect and submit 36000 valid signatures. Petition forms can be found on the groups website.

About Dakotans for Health

Dakotans for Health, an emerging group of public officials, caregivers, health care advocates, and concerned citizens to improve healthcare in the Dakotas including sponsoring the expansion of Medicaid and defending South Dakota's century old tradition of the initiated measure. We are honored to be joined by Organized Labor, all nine of South Dakota's Native Nations, and AFSCME Council 65 in this worthy endeavor.

Questions? Contact Pam Cole [] she is our Grassroots Organizing Director and will take good care of you!

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