Updated: Mar 29
Dakotans for Health is hosting Medicaid expansion petition signing events at Icon Events + DaDa Gastro Pub every Saturday this spring for 10AM-12PM
Outlet: Keloland Media Group
Reporter: Lauren Solek
Posted: Mar 14, 2021 / 08:32 AM CDT
Note: Dakotans For Health has been gathering signatures since November 2020
Sioux Falls, South Dakota (KELO)
There are still about 20 months left until the general election of November 2022, but the process of getting new measures on the ballot has already started.
In the 2020 general election, South Dakotans voted on three ballot measures, and though that election has come and gone, some organizations are already looking forward to the 2022 election and putting in the work for new ballot measures.
Dakotans for Health are focusing their efforts on getting Medicaid expansion on the 2022 election ballot.
“That would allow 42,000 more people, more individuals, to have Medicaid. And these are low-income people or they haven’t been able to qualify for disability and they don’t have a child that has Medicaid,” Pamela Cole, the grassroots organizer for Dakotans for Health said. “So that is 42,000 people with 17 thousand dollars, or less, income per year. So right now, they have very little chance of having any health care coverage.”
Cole says the benefits of expanding Medicaid go beyond just the individuals receiving it.
“Also for their employers to have more healthy employees and finally, so hospitals, counties, they don’t have to pick up the tab when people do get sick, because they definitely do in that group of people,” she said. “And if they’re not able to pay for their care, hospitals, counties and other clinics, they all have to pick up the tab.”
The goal is to get 65,000 signatures for the proposed ballot measure. Dakotans for Health has until November 8th of this year to do so.
“We’ve got over 150 people right now actively circulating our petition,” Rick Weiland, co-founder of Dakotans for Health said. “We have over 500 people that have signed up to help with the campaign. I’ve never really seen anything like that, that kind of energy around a initiated measure.”
Lanny Stricherz of Sioux Falls is one of those volunteers. He has gone to the downtown post office to get signatures.
“Anything to promote democracy,” Stricherz said.
The League of Women Voters was also at the petition signing event today with their own proposed ballot measure that’s focused on redistricting.
“We have a petition on the redistricting process to create an independent redistricting commission in our state,” Amy Scott-Stoltz, the state president for the League of Women Voters said. “Currently the legislators are allowed to draw their own districts and we think that’s a conflict of interest.”
Scott-Stoltz says no party would have a majority within that commission.
Dakotans for Health and the League of Women Voters will be taking signatures at the Icon Hall every Saturday this month.
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
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 South Dakotans circulating Medicaid expansion petitions
You can watch the full episode with Governor Bullock HERE
Get involved. Volunteer, start circulating a petition, and donate! Text "Medicaid" to (772) 577-2336
Circulate a Medicaid Expansion Petition (How to)
Want to circulate a petition? We have been on the streets since November of last year! The best way to get started is to text "Medicaid" to (772) 577-2336. You can also find everything you need to start circulating HERE.
HHS Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield opening remarks on Medicaid expansion in South Dakota
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
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES and BACKGROUND:
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.