As the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is gradually being implemented across the nation, individual states are starting to build the framework for implementation within their borders.  One of the issues with the ACA is the expansion of Medicaid with states contributing some and the Federal government subsidizing a generous portion of the program.

To that end, Senator Jean Hunhoff and Representative Scott Munsterman, chairs of the Senate and House health committees, will hold a joint hearing beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday February 20 in the state capital.  A bi-partisan group of 19 lawmakers is working to collect data and promote discussion on the expansion.  Senator Mark Johnston of Sioux Falls is one of the members of the Medicaid Expansion Exploratory Committee and expressed the need for an open forum on the issue.

Mark Johnston Describes The Joint Hearing On Wednesday

The main focus of the hearing will be on the question of whether or not South Dakota state government should expand Medicaid as allowed through the Affordable Care Act. If the expansion is accomplished, it could provide health care insurance through Medicaid for up to 48,000 South Dakotans who are currently uninsured.

The committee chairs said they especially hope to hear from health care providers, small business owners, workers and others who are affected.  It’s not about just covering people according to Johnston, because providers also have a stake in Medicaid expansion.

Mark Johnston Talks About The Need For Medicaid Expansion

The hearing will be the third public meeting on the subject of Medicaid expansion. Governor Daugaard's staff held an informational meeting on the second day of session, and earlier this month the Council for State Governments sent an expert to discuss the issue with legislators.