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  • Writer's pictureDakotans For Health

Medicaid Expansion Petition Sponsor files against Secretary of State

Updated: May 18, 2021

Media Advisory

Posted: Mar 22, 2021 / 08:00 AM CDT

Re: Medicaid expansion petition sponsor files Suit

Note: Press can register for 2:00PM (CST) Zoom Press Conference HERE

Note: We will live stream the press conference HERE

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Dakotans for Health Co-Founder, Rick Weiland, announced today, via ZOOM PRESS CONFERENCE, that the organization has filed a “petition for writ of mandamus” with the South Dakota Supreme Court, which if approved, would order the Secretary of State, Steve Barnett, to approve Dakotans for Health’s petition to refer the recently passed House Joint Resolution 5003, an act of by the legislature that would place on the June 2022 primary ballot, a constitutional amendment requiring 60% voter approval of any citizen initiated law or amendment that would expend $10 million dollars over a 5 years.

This is another assault by a one party dominated state legislature with no checks and balances, to thwart the will of the voters and intentionally stop our grassroots effort to bring hundreds of millions of our federal tax dollars back to South Dakota and provide healthcare insurance to over 40,000 hard working low-income South Dakotans,” Weiland Said.

Dakotans for Health has been circulating an initiated constitutional amendment to expand Medicaid since last November that would provide Medicaid health insurance to South Dakotans who make less than $17,000 a year. The non-partisan South Dakota Legislative Research Council has estimated that 42,500 people would be eligible, and that the Federal government would provide over 90% of the cost, estimated to be close to $300 million dollars each and every year, a 15-1 return on investment. South Dakota is one of 12 states that has refused to participate in this federal program made available by the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

“We are surrounded by states who have expanded their Medicaid programs and are accessing federal tax dollars to shore up their rural healthcare systems, help their hospitals cover uncompensated care and COVID costs, assist small businesses by improving their bottom lines, and provide healthcare access to the uninsured. Many of our neighbors simply don’t make enough money to cover their rent and feed their families—let alone have the money to buy health insurance. North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Iowa and Minnesota, bordering states that have expanded their Medicare programs have figured it out – it is time we did too,” Weiland added.

“Placing a constitutional amendment on a primary ballot when only a third of registered voters cast ballots, that would require Medicaid expansion to pass in the general election by 60%, is nothing more than a cynical attempt to take from South Dakotans their traditional right to enact measures such as Medicaid expansion by a simple majority,” Weiland concluded.

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.

Attachment (9)

Filed Documents:

Update: Tom Lawrence at the South Dakota Standard recently wrote a piece about Dakotans for Health and its challenge to HJR 5003. You can read it HERE.


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 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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