Ronald Fuchs should be the face of the Medicaid expansion debate in South Dakota. The Mitchell man is a regular guy, age 63, suffering from various maladies that make it hard for him to work. Still, he can't get disability payments. His Social Security income ($650 a month) is too low to qualify for help under the Affordable Care Act but too high to qualify for the Medicaid coverage that Governor Dennis Daugaard refuses to expand.
Republican legislators are spending more time working on a resolution to urge repeal of the Affordable Care Act than they are looking for a solution for Ronald Fuchs.
Ultimately, Ronald Fuchs's only hope remains a couple years of luck, followed by the most reliable health care coverage in America, government-run Medicare:
He says the only advantage he has now is his age. He’s 63.
"So, I can spend another year and a half to two years uninsured, hoping that I don’t get sick, that I don’t have to use the emergency room. Hoping against hope," Fuchs says.
When Ronald Fuchs turns 65 years old, he’ll qualify for Medicare. He says younger people struggling in poverty can’t simply wait it out for their health care [Kealey Bultena, "Medicaid Decisions Impact Mitchell Man," SDPB Radio, 2014.03.12].
This is now way for South Dakota to treat a neighbor. We have the money to expand Medicaid. Let's do it.