South Dakota lawmakers look for solutions to Medicaid expansion - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

South Dakota lawmakers look for solutions to Medicaid expansion

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The Affordable Care Act has made health insurance available for many in our state who would otherwise be uninsured.

But nearly 50,000 people in our state are ineligible.

The federal government says they should be covered by expanding Medicaid to the working poor.

Except in South Dakota doesn't plan to but there are plans for the people who fall through the cracks.

We spoke with one woman who's husband was run over by a train and survived, but is now disabled.

She testified to lawmakers about why it's important to find a solution for people like her and her family.

You wouldn't know it from looking at these photos of Amber Huebner, her husband Carlos and their happy family, but there is frustration and disappointment.

"When I went on to Healthcare.gov, it said I would qualify for the medicaid expansion but South Dakota not accepting the monies that there's nothing that they could do for me at this time," Huebner said.

Right now, South Dakotans who fall below the poverty level aren't covered by the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid.

"I'm doing everything that I can and I'm not the only person that's doing everything they can and just falling through the cracks," Huebner said.

Three Medicaid bills have failed during this legislative session, but lawmakers continue to look for solutions.

State Representative Scott Munsterman said "the requirement of that plan is that they need to be working 40 hours a week, they would be paying a $25 premium to be part of that personal responsibility to go towards the cost of that plan."

People like Heather would remain uninsured. She runs big bang fireworks in Big Stone City during the summer, but the rest of the year, she can only work part time so she can take care of her husband and six kids.

State Representative Bernie Hunhoff said "it's a creative way to try to skin the cat in a different way and I give Representative Munsterman a lot of credit for  trying to come up with some kind of compromise but the dollars just don't make any sense."

"There's nothing to help me, and that's scary. I have a husband to take care of who is now disabled and six kids that depend on me. I can't get sick," Huebner said.

Hunhoff tells us he's confident we will expand medicaid in South Dakota to help those families.

He said the governor and legislators just need to keep hearing more stories like Amber's.

 

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