That's my party! The South Dakota Democratic Party is learning to own its brand. They are embracing the Affordable Care Act. They are making acceptance of the ACA's Medicaid expansion a legislative priority. And they are putting Senator Angie Buhl (D-15/Sioux Falls), arguably the most liberal elected official in Pierre, front and center, bold and beautiful, on the poster promoting that policy.
South Dakota Dems are also pointing out that extending all of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act to South Dakotans is a moral and economic imperative:
We can’t afford to not participate in the Affordable Care Act. We have 48,000 uninsured South Dakotans. Our county governments, community hospitals and clinics are doing all they can to provide emergency care for these folks, which is much more expensive than providing preventative care through Medicaid. Most of them are working in low wage jobs that don’t provide insurance, or they’ve had the misfortune of becoming sick or hurt and they can’t get insurance. These are real people with real stories.
It’s a moral issue but it’s also an economic issue. The $200 million provided through the Affordable Care Act will be a bargain for our state, perhaps one of the biggest boons to our economy that we could hope for. The $200 million in new spending means hundreds of new jobs in communities across the state [Senator Jason Frerichs, "Democrats: Budget Could Hurt State Economy," South Dakota Democratic Party, 2012.12.04].
As Senator Frerichs contends, if we can fight to keep federal funding for Ellsworth Air Force Base for economic reasons, we should fight for the economic stimulus that the Medicaid expansion would bring. Plus, Ellsworth AFB exists to break things and kill people. The Affordable Care Act exists to make people better.
Senator Buhl, Senator Frerichs, and South Dakota Democrats are fighting for the right policy... a policy that just happens to show why we can take pride in being Democrats.