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State Dems Call For Medicaid Expansion, Reserve Spending For COVID Recovery
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South Dakota Democrats are calling on Republican Governor Kristi Noem to expand Medicaid and dip into the state’s budget reserves to aid in post-COVID-19 recovery.

State unemployment is skyrocketing and Noem says very few dollars are flowing into the state.

State Democrats want Governor Noem to issue shelter-in-place orders for all in the Sioux Falls area and offer strict guidelines to businesses considered essential.

Noem has declined to issue a stay-at-home order for Minnehaha County. Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken is abandoning his push for one.

Democrats also want Noem to consider an executive order to expand Medicaid in the state—extending healthcare for the estimated 55,000 working poor in the state prior to COVID 19.

South Dakota is one of fourteen states that have not expanded Medicaid.

Pamela Cole is the executive director of South Dakota Democrats. She says to prepare for the next stage of recovery, people need good healthcare.

“They have to have that preventative healthcare so they stay well and are productive,” Cole says. “It’s more about people being productive than anything. That translates into a stronger and better economy.”

Cole also says the governor should used budget reserves to expand mental health services, educate and re-train workers… as well as create new sustainably-based jobs.

The state budget reserve is around $170 million.