SIOUX FALLS, SD—South Dakota voters strongly support Amendment D and expanding Medicaid, and an overwhelming majority want the legislature to act quickly to implement expansion if it passes, according to a new statewide poll.
The poll, conducted by Glen Bolger, one of the Republican party’s leading pollsters, for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), found more than 6 in 10 (62%) likely voters plan to vote yes on Amendment D to expand Medicaid eligibility for 42,500 South Dakotans.
More than 8 in 10 (82%) voters also believe that if Medicaid expansion is approved by a majority of voters in November, the state government should respect the will of the voters and move quickly to implement it. On this point, support was highest among Democrats (94%) but was also very strong among Independents (88%) and Republicans (75%).
“Clearly voters understand the importance of affordable health coverage and want their lawmakers to respect their choice,” said David W. Benson, senior state and local campaigns manager at ACS CAN. “Support for this change is strong across political parties, but more important than the policy’s popularity is its effect on people’s health. American Cancer Society research shows that uninsured Americans are less likely to get screened for cancer and thus are more likely to have their cancer diagnosed late when survival is less likely and the cost of care more expensive. Medicaid expansion would help more people get and keep the kind of affordable comprehensive coverage that could save their lives.”
Patient advocacy groups representing thousands of South Dakotans joined ACS CAN to highlight the need to expand Medicaid via Amendment D after years of inaction from the legislature:
"This new polling is consistent with our own poll from earlier this year," said Erik Gaikowski, AARP South Dakota state director. “South Dakotans support Medicaid expansion. Our friends and neighbors realize the positive impact that health care coverage has on state finances and, more importantly, on the lives of hard-working state residents. It’s time to keep our tax dollars in South Dakota for health care and jobs.”
“South Dakotans have a long history of public support for Medicaid expansion,” said Tony Burke, South Dakota government relations director for the American Heart Association. “This latest polling backs up what we learned from polls in 2013 and 2016 and illustrates that South Dakotans believe the time is now for Medicaid expansion and providing access to health care for 42,500 of our hardworking neighbors.”
“This poll confirms what we’ve known for a long time; South Dakotans prioritize access to health care for their neighbors. Medicaid expansion will help keep rural clinics open for when an emergency strikes and ensure that all South Dakota families have access to emergency care — regardless of where they live,” said Shelly Ten Napel, CEO of the Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas.
“Every year, South Dakota leaves money on the table and misses out on federal tax dollars that could be spent on essential health care here,” said Dana Bacon, regional government affairs director at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “Voting yes on Amendment D will help solve that problem and allow South Dakota to use more federal funds on its residents’ health – just like most other states have been doing for years.”
“South Dakota’s health care affordability gap has hurt the health of our state and voters want it closed. Medicaid expansion helps lung disease patients access the comprehensive healthcare coverage that they need to breathe. This coverage includes essential health benefits like emergency care and hospitalizations, which have become even more important during the past two years,” said Molly Collins, director of advocacy at the American Lung Association.
The poll of 500 likely South Dakota voters was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies August 25-29, 2022 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.38% percentage points.
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About ACS CAN at 20
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.