The Department Secretary of Social Services, Deb Bowman, sent out a message to myself and other legislators this morning announcing changes Governor Daugaard is making with how South Dakota is addressing health care mandates from the Federal Government.
Governor Daugaard plans to announce his decision today regarding the federal requirement that every state have a Health Insurance Exchange operating by 2014. The governor asked that I send this email to you in advance of the public announcement along with the attached press release.
Federal regulations require each governor or his/her designee to submit to the federal government his/her decision regarding whether a state will operate an exchange or the federal government can operate and fund it. As you know, hundreds of hours of research and analysis has been done on this issue by state staff, key stakeholders (including legislative representatives) and experts in this area trying to determine what is best for South Dakota. After careful consideration the governor had decided the following:
1) Operating an exchange is too expensive – An independent consultant has estimated it will cost between $6.2 million to $7.7 million per year in annual ongoing costs for South Dakota to operate a state run exchange. That means a cost of $2 – $3 per member per month. State operated exchanges must be self-supporting by 2015 which means we would have to either charge a fee for South Dakotans using the exchange or increase taxes. The governor doesn’t like either option as he opposes raising taxes on our citizens.
2) The governor will protect South Dakotans by keeping control of health insurance regulation – The health law does allow states to regulate insurance on federal exchanges and the governor will take advantage of that option. South Dakota has a healthy insurance market that must be protected and Governor Daugaard will not cede control over our insurance markets to the federal government.
3) The governor remains opposed to the federal health care law – Governor Daugaard remains opposed to the health care law because it fails to address the number one problem in health care and that is the rising costs. The governor hopes the law is repealed but until then we will abide by federal law and we will protect our insurance market in case the law isn’t repealed.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me at 605.773.xxxx (redacted – DL) and I will get you connected with the right person on our team. Thanks so much,
This is a great preemptive move by our Governor to move South Dakota away from Obamacare, while at the same time recognizing the need to preserve state’s rights, and South Dakota’s control of health insurance regulation. $6.2 million to $7.7 million per year in annual ongoing costs is not a cost South Dakotans should have to bear for Washington’s social engineering experiments. We will control what we can, and in this case, we’re drawing a line in the sand.
A few points to keep in mind, why Governor Daugaard is doing this. First and foremost, the Governor will protect South Dakotans by keeping control of health insurance regulation. States are allowed to regulate insurance on federal exchanges, and we have a healthy insurance market that must be protected. South Dakota citizens and companies should not be subjected to unnecessary regulation by the federal government, and as mentioned, the state will not cede control over our insurance markets to the federal government. If the federal government wants it, they can pay for it. But we’re going to manage South Dakota health care for South Dakotans.
Both myself and the Governor strongly oppose the President’s health law, because it fails to address the number one problem facing our health care system, rising costs. The Governor and I both hope the law is repealed by the next President and Congress, but in case it isn’t, ee must be prepared to protect our insurance market in case the law isn’t repealed.
The Governor is going to keep fighting the good fight, and so am I. We need less government, not more, especially coming out of Washington.