Washington Looking To The States
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:
On Friday, Jan. 20, I was in Washington, D.C., among the many who attended the inaugural ceremonies for our 45th President. As governor, I was provided a seat on the platform, among other governors, former presidents, Supreme Court justices, senators and members of Congress. For someone like me, who grew up on a small farm, and attended a one-room school, being among those seated behind President Trump was both surreal and humbling.
In recent years, the regulations and unfunded mandates imposed by the federal government have been a concern. Under the EPA alone, the last eight years have seen 4,000 new rules, requiring an estimated 33 million hours of paperwork and a price tag of $334 billion in compliance costs. Under the Affordable Care Act, another 3,852 new federal regulations were adopted, with an annual price tag of more than $116 billion.
Some of these regulations are overly burdensome to the states, and nonsensical. For instance, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, requires state Medicaid and health program agencies to post notices in the state’s top 15 languages. Even though South Dakota has only about 200 residents who speak French, we are still required to print all significant publications in French.
With President Trump’s inauguration, I am hopeful many of these unreasonable regulations will be repealed. I look forward to an administration that respects limited government, is committed to reining in the federal bureaucracy and understands the role of the states in a federal system. Both the Trump Administration and leaders in Congress have been reaching out to governors, asking for ways to eliminate red tape and return flexibility to the states.
While I was in Washington, D.C., for the inaugural, I was invited to speak with members of the Senate Finance Committee about South Dakota’s recommendations concerning Medicaid reform
I cautioned the senators against a “one-size-fits-all” approach to funding state Medicaid programs, and urged them to pass reforms that are equitable to rural states and also to states that have not expanded Medicaid. State governments should have the option of establishing work requirements or requiring wellness activities or performance benchmarks for Medicaid enrollees. These approaches could help keep costs down and improve health outcomes for individuals.
I also identified the Medicaid/Indian Health Services reimbursement issue as South Dakota’s number one priority and urged the senators to consider this issue when repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. The federal government needs to live up to its obligation to provide health care for Native Americans.
I am encouraged that the Trump Administration and federal lawmakers are asking for state input. My meeting with Senate Finance Committee members marked the first time since my election in 2010 that governors have been asked by members of Congress to come to Washington to give our state’s perspective on federal reforms. I am hopeful they will take South Dakota’s priorities under serious consideration and, in the coming years, continue to look to the states.