I had the opportunity to speak at the weekly Sioux Falls Kiwanis Club – East meeting yesterday regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  My presentation focused on the South Dakota  Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace (Marketplace) and the status of Medicaid Expansion.

It is important to remember that the goal of the ACA is to reduce the number of uninsured Americans.  The Marketplace will give uninsured South Dakotans an opportutinty to find insurance with a core set of benefits and, depending on income, be eligible for potential financial assistance to cover the cost of premiums.  I think having affordable access to insurance is an issue almost everyone can agree on and the Kiwanis Club audience seemed no different.

The group also wanted an update on the status of Medicaid Expansion (ME) in South Dakota and across the country.  As you know, South Dakota has not moved forward with ME yet but continues to study the issue through the Governor’s summer task force.  A Kiwanis Club member asked me if the Federal Government can be counted for their share of the funding of ME since they are not meeting to obligation to fund the Lewis & Clark Regional Water project in southeast South Dakota and parts of Minnesota and Iowa.  I explained that during the nearly 50 years that the current Medicaid program has been in place; the Federal Government has never missed a payment to the states.

I thank the Sioux Falls Kiwanis Club – East for the opportunity to address their group and look forward to discussing these issues in the days, weeks and months to come.

Erik Nelson
ASD – Advocacy
AARP South Dakota

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