Far-right lawmakers who make up the South Dakota Freedom Caucus are lying about election integrity. They also lie about Medicaid expansion. These radical Republicans responded to voters’ endorsement of Amendment D, expanding Medicaid in South Dakota, with a press release that “demands solutions to ObamaCare expansion”:
The measure that has been passed will force people between the ages of 18 and 65 who are up to 133% above the federal poverty level to use Medicaid, with a projected total cost over 5 years of $1.5 billion. , according to estimates by the Legislative Research Council in June. Memorandum of February 17, 2021 on the subject.
Opponents of the expansion point out that after the first two years the state will be responsible for a significant portion of the costs – something some fear the state cannot afford in the long run. The Freedom Caucus also argues that many South Dakotans could lose their current medical coverage after being forced into Medicaid, which the Republican party has promised to stop but some party members have promoted, according to Freedom Caucus statements. . [South Dakota Freedom Caucus, press release, 2022.11.11].
“Freedom” in this caucus apparently means “absence of facts”. By claiming that expanding Medicaid is taking away people’s private insurance, SDFC is repeating the lie peddled by political parasite Keith Moore, who spoke on behalf of the Americans for Prosperity campaign against Amendment D. Read again Amendment D: Nothing in the approved amendment requires anyone to enroll in Medicaid and leave a private insurance plan. People who are eligible for Medicaid now as well as people who will be newly eligible for Medicaid when Amendment D takes effect July 1 are still choosing to enroll in the program. On July 1, no one from the Department of Social Services will come knocking on someone’s door out of the blue and say, “Surprise! You are on Medicaid now!
If someone from the government came knocking on my door and said, “Hey, ditch your private insurance; government is going to cover your health care now,” I would be immensely grateful. But that won’t happen until we elect Raskin/Ocasio-Cortez in 2024….
The Fact-Freedom Caucus also misrepresents the cost of Medicaid expansion. They recite the line from the LRC in its tax memo about the total cost of $1,515,214,000, but they ignore the actual numbers the LRC provides indicating how much the Legislature Appropriations Committee will have to budget:
- The State’s share of expenditure will be $166,244,000.
- The state general fund savings will be $162,473,000.
- Net government expenditure for five years will be $3,767,000.
$3.77 million, or less than a third of the cost of the Rapid City Firing Range, over five years, in return for which we’re helping 52,000 South Dakotans get affordable health care. This is not a “billion dollar financial problem”; It’s a matter of public policy!
Even if there is a tiny budget problem with the Medicaid expansion, don’t expect the Freedom Caucus to find a solution. True to form, these Trumpists offer no clear policy to solve the problem; they are simply demanding solutions from Republican leaders whom they accuse of promoting “government-run” health care:
“I was raised to clean up the mess you create, and that’s the mess Republican leaders need to clean up,” said Rep. Mulally of the South Dakota Freedom Caucus.
… “We understand that officially the Republican Party of South Dakota has not officially promoted Medicaid expansion,” said Rep. Randolph of the Freedom Caucus, “but neither has the Republican Party opposed it on the basis of the principles of the party platform.”
… Around the time Governor Daugaard took office, the South Dakota Republican Party took a stance against socialized or “government-run” health care as part of its platform, illustrating a growing division between the party leadership and its conservative members. A disconnect that the South Dakota Freedom Caucus says the group originated according to some of its members.
Now the Freedom Caucus is demanding that the Republican Party of South Dakota and its members who supported passing Medicaid expansion, like Senator Steinhauer who supported 2022 Senate Bills 102 and 186 to expand Medicaid, or Rep. Greg Jamison who publicly promoted its adoption on the ballot. box, come with solutions for the fiscal shortfall the state is expected to face as well as the issues the Freedom Caucus says many South Dakotans will face in the coming years as they lose their private insurance options [SDFC, 2022.11.11].
Again, the Freedom Caucus opposes slogans, not facts. The government does not manage health care through Medicaid; the government uses Medicaid to pay for health care.
The Freedom Caucus is also demonstrating its disconnect with its elective duties. The government is not an outside entity that the Freedom Caucuses can attack; the members of this group are part of the government. These are the people some voters have inexplicably elected to propose policies and solve problems. Legislators, even rump Republicans, have a duty to propose and promote public policies to solve problems.
The only thing freedom caucuses get is to view Republican leadership as an outside entity, because their caucus certainly doesn’t include any leaders. As the Freedom Caucus released its lying and irresponsible missive, Senate Republicans gathered to choose their party leaders. The Senate GOP ignored all SDFC sympathizers and instead chose the usual host of mainstream Chamber of Commerce types who will support the ongoing reign of Senate King Lee Schoenbeck:
Madison’s Casey Crabtree is the majority leader. Rapid City’s Mike Diedrich is Deputy Majority Leader. Majority Whips include Helene Duhamel, Jack Kolbeck, Ryan Maher and David Wheeler.
Watertown’s Lee Schoenbeck is the party’s nominee for President Pro Tempore, which will be voted on by the full Senate in January [Perry Groten, “Republicans Choose State Senate Leaders,” KELO-TV, 2022.11.12].
Leaders lead with facts and solutions. The Freedom Caucus offers neither facts nor solutions and therefore does not lead.