Pierre, SD — South Dakotans will soon decide whether to become the next state to expand Medicaid to low-income families and individuals under the Affordable Care Act. Today, the campaign to expand Medicaid via ballot measure, South Dakotans Decide Healthcare launched its second advertisement, titled “Debt.” The ad tells the story of an uninsured leukemia patient named Sarah. “My first hospital bill was over $70,000. I remember thinking, I cannot afford to live,” she says.

WATCH: “Debt” from South Dakotans Decide Healthcare

Campaign Overview: 

  • South Dakota is one of only 12 states that hasn’t expanded Medicaid, leaving tens of thousands of people in the  “coverage gap” where they make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to be eligible for Marketplace insurance subsidies.
  • If passed, the citizen-initiated ballot measure, Amendment D, would direct the state to expand Medicaid eligibility by July 1, 2023 to any person aged 18 to 65 with an income up to 133% of the federal poverty level — about $19,000/year for an individual or $39,000/year for a family of four.
  • The campaign is supported by a notably broad and bipartisan coalition representing doctors, nurses, patient advocates, educators, farmers, tribes, faith leaders, and more.
  • Earlier this year, the Fairness Project was part of a coalition that defeated Amendment C, a proposal that would have raised the voter approval threshold for most ballot measures from a simple majority to 60% — a transparent but failed attempt by partisan legislators to block Medicaid expansion from succeeding.

Fast Facts: 

  • More than 40,000 South Dakotans would gain access to coverage if voters choose to expand Medicaid this fall, and the state would keep an additional $328 million each year in tax dollars.
  • Polls have repeatedly shown the popularity of Medicaid expansion in the state. Last month, an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network poll showed that more than 6 in 10 likely voters supported the policy.
  • Fairness Project instrumentally supported all of the successful ballot measures to expand Medicaid in Idaho, Maine, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Utah — bringing access to health coverage to an additional 830,000 Americans. 

Campaign Coverage: 

  • Vox: Republican states keep refusing to expand Medicaid — until you ask their voters
  • More Perfect Union: South Dakota Could Be the Next Red State to Expand Medicaid
  • Forbes: South Dakota Voters Reject GOP Effort Aimed At Derailing Medicaid Expansion
  • PBS Newshour: Support for Medicaid expansion grows in South Dakota, one of the last red state holdouts
  • The Washington Post: South Dakota is the next front on Medicaid expansion
back to top