Argus story on legislative measure being brought to over-ride IM17

Well, this got a lot of attention quickly.

The Argus is writing today on a bill that’s going to be introduced to override Initiated Measure 17… or legalize one organization’s interpretation, depending on your viewpoint… affecting a measure that was passed by the voters in 2014 by a 62% vote. And this topic is quickly rising to the status of being this years’ dark horse bill for controversial measures:

Businesses and consumers would have the ability to purchase health insurance plans that exclude some health providers under a bill that lawmakers will consider.

If passed, the bill would authorize so-called “narrow network” insurance plans, which have a small universe of health providers. The plans can be less expensive because the doctors and other health providers agree to charge lower amounts in exchange for the guaranteed volume generated by those covered in the plan.

But the bill could prove controversial because it amends an initiative that voters approved in 2014 requiring health insurance plans to be open to all providers who are willing to accept an insurance network’s terms and conditions. Initiated Measure 17 – which passed with a solid 62 percent majority.


If passed, the bill would essentially legalize the way Sanford Health Plans interpreted Initiated Measure 17. Sanford began offering a plan that includes all providers who want in, but it has also continued to offer narrow network plans to consumers and employers who want them.  


Shannon Carder, who was the campaign manager for Initiated Measure 17, said lawmakers should listen to their constituents, a majority of which have said they support the provision.

“I can’t imagine that it would be a wise decision to go against the will of the voters,” Carder said. “We worked really hard with the people of South Dakota who wanted this measure. People wanted, plain and simple, to be the ones to choose who their doctor is.”

Read it all here.

It will be interesting to watch this develop. Stay tuned for more!

9 thoughts on “Argus story on legislative measure being brought to over-ride IM17”

  1. The Sandford organization has such an exceptional reputation for its efforts to improve worldwide heath care and reduce suffering – and then it goes and does a boneheaded plan like this.

    Mr. Sandford, whoever came up with this is should be fired.

    With respect – Rep. Fred Deutsch

  2. Yes, this does seem to be a boneheaded move and good of Rep. Deutsch to call them out. Why is it that Sanford thinks they need run everything?

  3. Good for Sanford and the Chamber for actually stepping up for citizens and calling these guys out. The whole ballot measure campaign was such a dishonest manipulation of the process. Curd and company couldn’t win on the merits in the legislature so they took their self-serving government intrusion to the ballot, packaged it as “patient choice”, and bought an outcome. Whether this law is a cost driver is as certain as the sunrise – a 101 understanding of health insurance makes that crystal clear. I don’t recall that caveat when Curd’s face was airing constantly in TV ads. This state has seen enough self-dealing. Legislators should rally together and push back.

    1. Thanks ! Best satirical post on SDWC in quite some time. The tip-off: Your concern about self-dealing in the machinations of government in this state. No one expresses those sort of sentiments on this blog.

      Not certain for ‘who’ the Chamber is stepping up, but it darned certain is not the citizens of SD.

  4. This will an interesting and hard-fought issue. Lots of lobbyists.

    The pro-IM17 crowd like Curd will say that any change to the language violates the will of the voters.

    The Sanford crowd is clever in that they are not amending that language – they are adding to it. They will claim that their change adds “patient choice” and is therefore consistent with the voter intent.

    And they are both kind of right. IM17 guarantees “patient choice” in every insurance plan because it bans closed networks.

    But the Sanford approach guarantees “patient choice” on the rationale that patients should be able to choose a cheaper closed network plan. The cable TV analogy is a good one.

    Here is the real deal – the Sanford approach is correct IF THE CONSUMER IS ALLOWED TO CHOOSE A HEALTH PLAN. But many people get insurance through an employer and have no say in the plan. It would be like if your employer paid for your cable TV and picked your channels. In that case, requiring an open health network is more appealing.

  5. The employer piece is interesting. For those with “take it or leave it” employer-sponsored insurance, the argument always overlooks those employees who are satisfied with their plan. If your employer-sponsored plan contains all the docs you want, why should you, your coworkers, and your employer have to bear the cost of an expanded network for those employees who might want more choice (assuming the desired docs choose to become part of the network in question)? If those folks want docs outside of the employee-sponsored health plan, they can and should just pay the out-of-network costs. That shouldn’t be on coworkers and small business owners. Health care is like a lot of things – everyone wants everything until they have to help pay for it. Networking is a cost control, and until insurance is replaced by some other system (single payer…gasp), it is an important mechanism for consumers. This approach seems to strike a fair balance. All health insurers have to step up with an inclusive plan, but that’s just one option. Options is the key, I think. These are the kinds of heavily nuanced policy matters legislators should be there to address, as needed.

  6. Odd how this discussion/argument keeps going back to the merits of the Sanford proposal. The voters decided this issue. Period. The voters heard the arguments and decided it. Sanford doesn’t like what they decided. And can’t get over it apparently.

  7. Observer,

    Your argument “The voters decided this issue. Period.” and thus to reconsider relies on the following premise:

    1) The voters decision was fully informed and there are no unintended consequences.
    2) The voters decision is infallible.
    3) There haven’t been changes to the situation or new information isn’t available.

    I don’t even recall how I voted because I saw both pros and cons. But even if I was firmly one or another when I voted, I’d still consider new information, I don’t consider myself (or any other voter) infallible, and I know the world is changing fast such yesterdays good decisions might be an albatross tomorrow.

  8. Ms. Morrison’s cable television analogy mischaracterizes the will and intent of the voter. Voters expressed a desire to choose not from a slate/roster of channels, but rather the freedom to choose THE specific channel for which they have need.

    For example, I need to have the Knee Replacement Channel. IM 17 indicates that any provider who will agree to provide to me the Knee Replacement Channel may do so, as long as they accept the same level of financial remuneration in exchange for the Knee Replacement Channel as my insurance provider would customarily provide.

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