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Legislators Predict New Budget For 2014



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With Tuesday’s proposal of the 2014 fiscal year budget announcement just days away, republicans and democrats are voicing their opinions on budget issues. And health insurance seems to be the heated subject. So KDLT talked to legislators on both sides of the aisle to see what they had to say.   

You may have heard of the old saying ‘money makes the world go round.’ But when it comes to the 2014 fiscal budget, money determines a whole lot more.
 
“The quote on quote fiscal cliff everyone is talking about could have a very detrimental impact on our state budget,” said State Senator Mark Johnston, of District 12.

Republican Senator Mark Johnston said if the federal government doesn’t figure out a plan for the nations budget, South Dakota’s budget could also take a hit.

The state could lose up to $50 million in federal funding.

And that uncertainty is why republicans and democrats disagree on South Dakota’s Health Care Program.

 "Those of us democratic leaders in the legislature are concerned about the people who are uninsured,” said Karen Soli, State Representative, of District 15.  
     
According to democratic representative Karen Soli, there are 48,000 South Dakotans in that category who cannot afford health care.

They are considered the working poor and do not quality or Medicaid.

So democratic leaders are pushing for the governor to get the state on board with the Affordable Care Act. Which is also known as Obama Care.

If we were to sign on, for the first three years, the federal government would pay 100 percent of the state’s Medicaid costs.

"$2 billion would come in federal money to cover these friends and neighbors, working poor, in our state, to include them in health insurance over a ten year period,” said Representative Soli.

However, the state would pay around $15 million a year for the program. And it’s money that has republican leaders worried.

“Instead of talking about the expansion of Medicaid, and growing the number of people, I think we can do a lot more to manage the health care of those patients,” said Senator Johnston.

Senator Johnston said legislators and medical providers should work together to ‘expand the dollar.’ And they need to find a way to make health insurance more affordable.
"That’s more responsible to have a strong discussion about it, than increasing the number of Medicaid recipients without improving the system of Medicaid,” said Johnston.

With millions of dollars on the line, and thousands of live affected, its hard to believe everyone will agree on Tuesday’s budget proposal.

State Senator Johnson said around 37 cents out of every dollar goes to the Medicaid Program. And over all, 87 percent of the state’s budget goes toward health care programs and education.

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