“Dakotans for Health” submits signatures for an initiated law Medicaid expansion ballot measure

“Dakotans for Health” submitted a second Medicaid expansion ballot initiative to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office, arguing that theirs had a better chance to pass than another one already submitted.
Rick and Adam Weiland, founder and co-founder of "Dakotans for Health," submitted roughly...
Rick and Adam Weiland, founder and co-founder of "Dakotans for Health," submitted roughly 23,000 signatures to put a second Medicaid expansion proposal on the November general election ballot in South Dakota.(Austin Goss DNN/KOTA)
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 8:23 AM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota voters could be considering two separate ballot initiatives having to do with Medicaid expansion in November.

That comes as a result of activists from “Dakotans for Health” submitting roughly 23,000 signatures to the state’s Secretary of States office Tuesday.

“We think it is important for the voters of South Dakota to have another choice to expand Medicaid on the November ballot,” said Adam Weiland, co-founder of Dakotans for Health. “This is an opportunity to bring hundreds of millions of our federal tax dollars every year back to our state and help a lot of people.”

Adam and his father, founder of Dakotans for Health Rick Weiland, believe that giving voters a choice as to how they want to expand Medicaid is important. They argue that the alternative to their measure, a Medicaid expansion proposal backed by the state’s major hospital systems, and being carried by “South Dakotans Decide Healthcare,” is less likely to pass if Amendment C passes on the on the June primary ballot. Amendment C would move the threshold for either expansion proposals from 50% to 60%.

Weiland says that is because the alternative is an amendment to the state constitution, whereas their proposal is only an initiated measure. He argues that historically, voters have been less inclined to pass constitutional amendments than initiated measures.

“With the threat of the Republican state legislature’s Amendment C, now on the June primary ballot when few people vote, this cheat and blatant disregard for the citizen initiative process would strip away ‘majority rule’ and require Medicaid expansion in November to pass with a supermajority of 60%. We believe our initiated law has a better chance of reaching that 60% threshold,” Weiland said.

South Dakota is one of 12 states in the country to not accept funding to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act. The issue has always faced strong opposition from Republican lawmakers, including Governor Kristi Noem. An attempt by Republican state lawmakers to steer Medicaid expansion through the legislature during the 2022 session fell short.

The general election will take place on November 8th.

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