South Dakota Officials Weigh In On National Health Care Debate

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota state officials are weighing in on the national health care debate. Gov. Dennis Daugaard, the Department of Social Services and the Division of Insurance provided input at the request of federal lawmakers this month on how Medicaid, insurance regulations and IHS can be improved.

Gov. Daugaard laid out South Dakota’s priorities on Medicaid reform at a meeting with Senate Finance Committee members in Washington, D.C., Thursday. U.S. Sen. John Thune, a Senate Finance Committee member, invited the Governor to speak to the group about South Dakota’s most pressing issues. Gov. Daugaard was among eight other governors and two lieutenant governors at the meeting.

“I am encouraged that federal lawmakers are looking to the states for input on how to roll back regulations and give more flexibility,” Gov. Daugaard said.

In his testimony, the Governor cautioned against a “one-size-fits-all” approach to funding state Medicaid programs. Reforms should be fair and equitable to rural states and states that have not expanded Medicaid, he said. Daugaard also gave examples of how the federal government can allow the states more flexibility on Medicaid.

“State governments should have the option of establishing work referral programs or requiring wellness activities or performance benchmarks for certain Medicaid enrollees. These things would help keep costs down and improve health outcomes for individuals,” said the Governor.

In closing, Gov. Daugaard expressed that fixing the Medicaid/IHS reimbursement issue is South Dakota’s number one priority. He urged the senators to consider this issue when repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Also this month, DSS Secretary Lynne Valenti and Division of Insurance Director Larry Deiter sent letters on health care reform to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The majority leader had written the Governor in December seeking South Dakota’s input.

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