Amid the Republican rollout of a plan to provide healthcare for Americans, South Dakota officials brought their concerns to the new leaders in Washington, D.C.

Governor Dennis Daugaard and State Senate Majority Leader Dr. Blake Curd went to Washington to see the new Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Tom Price. Curd says the main intent was to enlighten Price on the state’s reservations health care needs.

“He was not aware of the issue that we have here with the treaty Tribes nor did I expect him to be which is why I think this visit was so valuable. When he heard that nearly a quarter of our state Medicaid budget is consumed by folks that would otherwise receive Indian Health Services benefits, that caught his attention.”

If the state could get more federal support, Curd has some specific areas where the Tribes would see the rewards.

“Things like medical homes, preventative health care and things that right now aren’t as easily accessible in our Tribal populations. We invited him to tour the reservation and see Indian Health Services at work. He said that he would take us up on that offer. We are looking for a date to coordinate his visit here to South Dakota.”

It’s estimated that $93 million could be used for new health programs to serve the Tribes.

According to Curd, Secretary Price and his staff was very committed to learning more about Tribal health.

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