South Dakotans Vote to Expand Medicaid and Increase Access to Health Coverage

November 8, 2022

On Tuesday, voters responded “yes” to Amendment D, which asked if the state constitution should be amended to expand Medicaid coverage to adults with lower incomes.

South Dakotans approval of Amendment D will improve health outcomes and reduce cancer disparities for 42,500 South Dakotans who will gain access to health insurance coverage through the state’s Medicaid program. 

“Increasing Medicaid eligibility means more South Dakotans will have access to comprehensive coverage, including cancer screenings, diagnostic testing, treatment services and follow-up care needed to survive the disease that will kill 1,740 South Dakotans this year,” said Matthew McLarty, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) South Dakota government relations director. “I’m grateful for our ACS CAN volunteers’ unending passion in the fight against cancer and their hard work to pass Medicaid expansion.”

An August poll by ACS CAN found 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.

“The people of South Dakota have spoken. Our work begins immediately to make sure this life-saving policy is enacted and to help enroll South Dakotans who have fallen into the health care affordability gap,” said McLarty.

“This is an incredible victory for the state of South Dakota and countless uninsured individuals, who will gain access to life-changing and lifesaving health insurance coverage,” said ACS CAN President Lisa Lacasse. “We know the health insurance coverage provided by Medicaid helps to improve outcomes and reduce the burden of cancer by offering enrollees access to primary care, prevention services and timely cancer screenings. Early detection of cancer increases a patient’s chance for survival. With this vote, South Dakotans have elected to save lives.”

In 2022, over 5,370 South Dakotans will be diagnosed with cancer. Individuals enrolled in Medicaid prior to their cancer diagnosis have better survival rates than those who enroll after their diagnosis. Medicaid expansion led to an increase in both total and earlier-stage cancer diagnoses in expansion states.

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