Pierre, SD — A new article in the The New York Times highlights the unlikely coalition fighting to pass Amendment D, a Medicaid expansion proposal in South Dakota backed by the Fairness Project. If it succeeds next week, the amendment will expand health coverage to more than 40,000 low-income South Dakotans and keep $328 million of tax dollars in-state each year. This campaign marks the seventh time that the Fairness Project has worked to expand Medicaid through a citizen-initiated ballot measure.
“It is harder and harder for conservative politicians to stand behind the idea that the [Affordable Care Act] is just one lawsuit away from being repealed or overturned,” said Kelly Hall, the executive director of the Fairness Project, a national nonprofit that is behind the “Yes on D” campaign.
“Our work,” she said, “is about how do we build odd-bedfellows coalitions delivering the message that Medicaid expansion is good for the economy, brings back tax dollars to the states, is helpful for small businesses and is not just ‘Do you support Obamacare?’”
South Dakota is one of only 12 states that has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. If passed, Amendment D would direct the state to expand Medicaid next year 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 of doctors, nurses, patient advocates, educators, farmers, tribes, faith leaders, and more.
Earlier this year, the Fairness Project was instrumental in defeating Amendment C, a transparent attempt by state legislators to end majority rule and block Medicaid expansion by requiring state constitutional amendments to pass by a supermajority. Since 2016, the Fairness Project has also run successful campaigns in Idaho, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Utah.
“We are six for six, in places that you would not expect,” Hall said to The New York Times. “None of these places are bastions of progressive organizing.”
If you would like to interview Kelly Hall, Executive Director of the Fairness Project, please email email@example.com.