The gubernatorial Campaign is afoot, with Jack Billion issuing part of "his plan", and the Governor Responding
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Finding ways to provide health insurance for the uninsured in South Dakota will be one of four issues that Jack Billion will highlight in his campaign against Republican Gov. Mike Rounds.Billion, the Democratic nominee for governor, will soon begin releasing position statements on health care, education, economic development and agriculture and its related energy development. No issue will be more important than health care and finding ways to expand medical coverage among the almost 90,000 uninsured South Dakotans, the retired orthopedic surgeon from Sioux Falls said Tuesday.
"Certainly, health care is going to be one of the major issues of the campaign," Billion said. "One of the single most important things we need to do in this state is provide some kind of coverage for the 90,000 who are uninsured, 17,000 of whom are children."
Billion said 31,000 of the uninsured are below the federal poverty level. South Dakota could assure coverage for a portion of those people by expanding eligibility criteria for Medicaid but that would require matching money from the state.
Rounds said he is not against Billion's general idea, but he emphasized that governing requires making choices.
"You only collect limited dollars. The question is, do you want to put that into education or put that into insuring people," Rounds said. "Those are questions we struggle with every single year during the legislative session. I think everybody would like to see more people insured, but you have to be prepared to talk about whether you want to subsidize that with taxpayer money."