Medicaid expansion is the topic at hand in an Associated Press article this AM, regarding the possibility of it passing in the 2017 legislative session, now that plans for a special session of the state legislature have been canceled:
“I think the path for the governor’s office is potentially going to be tougher next session, but we’re continuing to march forward with the thought that that very well could be a topic for 2017,” said Ben Lee, state director at opposition group Americans for Prosperity-South Dakota.
Daugaard, who had floated the idea of a summer special session, decided against it after hearing from lawmakers who wanted more time to study the proposal and to wait until after the presidential election to consider it. The move was a blow to Democrats pushing for expansion, and Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton said it would remain their top priority when lawmakers gather in 2017.
Their push would be helped if Democrats can gain some legislative seats in November to stave off a more conservative Senate, he said.
There are enough undecided and leaning legislators in both chambers to make expansion a “real possibility” in 2017, said Jennifer Stalley, a lobbyist for the Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas, which is among many groups supporting expansion.
I think there’s far less support in the House than proponents think, and that’s going to be the easy chamber. Expanding welfare rolls for able-bodied adults is not going to fly at all in the State Senate.
The rank and file of the GOP recently noted (in part) in resolutions at the 2016 convention:
Whereas, the South Dakota Republican Party recognizes the crises in healthcare offered by the Veterans Administration and the Indian Health Service, and the failure of the federal government to keep its promises to those who receive these services.
Now, Therefore, be it resolved, the South Dakota Republican Party rejects efforts by the federal government to mandate or incentivize further government intervention in healthcare; and,
Be it further resolved, the South Dakota Republican Party is opposed to the expansion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, generally referred to as Obamacare; and,
Be it further resolved, the South Dakota Republican Party urges the South Dakota state legislature, both house and senate, to reject and defeat efforts to expand Medicaid or adopt the Medicaid standards outlined in Obamacare.
That’s probably a good hint that, at least among the Republican faithful, that dog is not going to hunt and Republicans remain largely unconvinced that it could be in their benefit. And that’s not helped when the conventional wisdom is that there are no success stories in states who have moved forward with the expansion.
Coupled with Democrats’ likely legislative prospects this fall (slim to none) my crystal ball tells me that there is no visible path forward in the state legislature for Medicaid expansion in 2017, and you can arguably add 2018 to that prediction as well.