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Watchdog: House Budget Plan Could Block SD Medicaid Expansion

South Dakota lawmakers soon may hold a special session to vote on Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, while federal lawmakers consider a budget plan that could repeal the ACA. (iStockphoto)
South Dakota lawmakers soon may hold a special session to vote on Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, while federal lawmakers consider a budget plan that could repeal the ACA. (iStockphoto)
April 14, 2016

PIERRE, S.D. – As House lawmakers continue voting on their federal budget this week, a budget watchdog group is comparing several big proposals.

The National Priorities Project (NPP) analyzed the details of federal budget plans from President Barack Obama, the House Budget Committee and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Since the door is still open for South Dakota lawmakers to consider expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act to help low-income adults, Lindsay Koshgarian, the NPP’s research director, says the House proposal may not be the best option for the state.

"The House budget actually repeals the Affordable Care Act, so not only would South Dakota not be able to expand Medicaid, but all the states that have done it so far would lose that," she points out.

The final details of the House plan are still being hammered out. And because of a longtime disagreement between House Republican leaders and Tea Party supporters over budget cuts, it is likely that the House will miss Friday's budget voting deadline.

Koshgarian says her research on public opinion polls shows that Americans want to see more federal investments in areas such as job creation, infrastructure, education and the social safety net.

Out of the three proposals, she says the Congressional Progressive Caucus's plan – called the People's Budget – hits most of those buttons.

"The People's Budget far and away matches the priorities that Americans have the best in terms of creating jobs and education and protecting programs that are extremely popular with Americans, like Medicare and Social Security," she stresses.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Wednesday that he is considering all options for the House budget plan as negotiations are expected to continue into at least next week.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - SD