South Dakotans Want State to Cover Uninsured Through Medicaid

January 13, 2014


Megan Myers

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

605-261-7717 (cell)

[email protected]




Polling: South Dakotans Want State to Use Federal Funds

to Cover Uninsured Through Medicaid 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Jan. 13, 2014 – Public opinion polling released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) shows that registered voters in South Dakota want their state to accept federal funds that are available to broaden access to health coverage through Medicaid. By a 32-point margin, South Dakota voters support the decision, a move that would as allow many as 48,000 low-income South Dakotans to get lifesaving preventive care and treatments for cancer and other serious diseases.

The statewide poll, conducted by national political and public affairs research firm Public Opinion Strategies, was fielded in November 2013. South Dakota lawmakers currently face the decision of whether to make health coverage under Medicaid available to individuals and families up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, as urged by federal health care reform. The poll was answered by 400 registered voters in South Dakota and has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent.

“South Dakota has an opportunity to provide up to 48,000 currently uninsured South Dakotans with lifesaving health coverage through Medicaid, and public sentiment in our state is decidedly in favor of using available federal dollars to pay for it,” said lead ACS CAN volunteer Cheri Leahy of Spearfish. “If our state makes that choice, families across South Dakota will have the security of knowing they have access to proven cancer screenings and treatments they otherwise could not afford.”

Respondents polled were informed that federal funds are available to pay 100 percent of the costs to cover more uninsured people through Medicaid beginning in 2014, with the federal share gradually decreasing to 90 percent.

Respondents in South Dakota were twice as likely to support accepting federal dollars to cover more people than they were to prefer turning down federal funds and leaving vulnerable populations uninsured.

                                  Percent in Favor of Accepting

State                                 Federal Funds                                Percent Opposed

South Dakota                           63%                                                     31%


Regardless of self-reported political ideology, the poll shows that nearly two-thirds of South Dakotans support accepting the federal funding to cover more South Dakotans through Medicaid.

Accepting the federal dollars to increase access to health coverage through Medicaid will allow more South Dakotans to see a doctor regularly, access preventive services such as pap smears, mammograms and smoking cessation aids, and avoid unnecessary visits to the emergency department. Access to these critical services enhances the likelihood of detecting cancer at an earlier, more curable and much less expensive stage. In addition, covering more of the uninsured through Medicaid will reduce the amount of uncompensated care that hospitals and other health care providers provide.

“Individuals enrolled in Medicaid have better access to health care than do the uninsured,” said Megan Myers, South Dakota Grassroots Manager for ACS CAN. “If they get cancer, it’s more likely to be discovered at an early stage and, compared to the uninsured; they have better access to outpatient and hospital care and prescription drugs.”

ACS CAN is working in every state to support strong implementation of provisions of the federal health care reform law that enable people with cancer or at risk for cancer to access critical prevention measures such as mammograms and colonoscopies, treatments and follow-up care for cancer.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.  ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit