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Mitchell Man Would Benefit from Medicaid Expansion

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.


  1. Jana 2014.03.12

    Thanks Mr. H and SDPB radio for bringing a face and a real life impacted by petty politics.

    My guess is that the Governor and those in the legislature blocking lifesaving healthcare to ten of thousands of the citizens they claim to represent can name 5 of them or even have the courage to look them in the eye and tell them no.

  2. Rod Hall 2014.03.12

    Ron is not just sitting around for a handout. He stays busy helping the Mitchell Community. Dugaard should do as well!

  3. Joan Brown 2014.03.12

    I was without health care from the summer of 1983, when I got divorced until the spring of 2005, when I was old enough to receive medicare. After moving to Sioux Falls in the spring of 1997 I did receive routine care at the Avera Health free clinic for people without insurance or medicaid. That didn't include if I would have had to be hospitalized. They even made sure I got my prescriptions for insulin, high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. free from the pharmaceutical companies.

  4. lesliengland 2014.03.12

    the number of people that will suffer or die in 25 some states that have not expanded medicaid is and will be revealing. those red states and their governors and legislators will be responsible unless they come up with some good reasons to excuse their judgement.

  5. mike from iowa 2014.03.12

    Might be a whole other story if the uninsured were clusters of cells inside Mommie's womb. They'd at least get lip service before being sent to die along the way.

  6. Thad Wasson 2014.03.12

    If his only income is $650 a month, then he should be on medicaid. Unless he is hiding his assets to give the appearance of being destitute.

  7. grudznick 2014.03.12

    Indubitably, Mr. Wasson.

  8. Jenny 2014.03.12

    Honestly, Ron Fuchs should come to MN. He'd have a better chance of getting on the many programs here - MN Sure (started from the ACA) , MN Healthcare - a low income-based healthcare program managed by the state, are just some of the healthcare programs here that would help people like him.

  9. Douglas Wiken 2014.03.12

    "JuanitaJean" used to post at Salon Table Talk which has since disappeared. She has a wicked sense of humor and carries a sharp knife. I kind of forgot about her site. I again have it bookmarked. Her humor and insight are worth checking often. She was merciless in her pursuit of a Texan US congressman from her area. I think he later ended up in prison.

  10. Jerry 2014.03.12

    Ole Denny Daugaard is the proud sponsor of South Dakota death panels. Here is how it works Mr. Wasson. If your income is anything, you do not qualify for Medicaid in South Dakota, it has to be nothing. 650 bucks a month is 650 bucks a month too much.

  11. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.12

    There needs to be more of the Ronald Fuch's story being told. In fact, it would great to hear from the estimated 48,000 citizens being denied medical coverage by our Christian governor.

    If you recall, a large part of President Obama's campaign for ACA were the personal stories of those that would benefit from healthcare reform. These stories are effective tools in bringing Medicaid Expansion to South Dakota.

  12. Anne Beal 2014.03.12

    This illustrates how simple health insurance reform could have been: just allow people to buy into Medicare regardless of age or income.indtead we got 2500 pages of affordable care act and the real problems are not solved

  13. Jerry 2014.03.12

    We are solving some of the problems Anne Beal with the ACA. Our course the solution would be Medicare for all, but your republican friends would not allow the public option, so we have what we have. The governor of the state of South Dakota will get no cover for the blood on his hands.

  14. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.03.12

    Mike and Doug, I went to Juanita Jean's site. So funny! I read the About and laughed my way through it. Then I read the Rules and laughed at that too. Everything you said about it is true. Thanks for the link and recommendation.

  15. BOHICA 2014.03.13

    It doesn't matter if you are red or blue...treating the disadvantaged decently without being mistreated by the disadvantage is pretty basic American me thinks. Now, that being said, when do I get my Federal Income tax refund or tax rate reduction because South Dakota didn't jump into the Medicaid Expansion program?...Nevermind, it was a rhetorical question. We (except the decision makers) know the answer.

  16. Joseph g thompson 2014.03.13

    Didn't the governor ask the federal government for a waiver so that South Dakota could implement part of the new Medicaid program. Seems to me the figure I read was that his proposal would have insured about half of those caught in this predicament. Think the feds turned him down? With all the other waivers that have been given to the health care law don't understand why this waiver would be turned down. Isn't half better than nothing. Remember I am in favor of universal health care as soon as we find a way to pay for it.

  17. Nick Nemec 2014.03.13

    The way to pay for universal healthcare is simple. If the money now paid to private insurance companies was diverted to tax payments the Medicare system would be solvent forever. Medicare for all.

  18. owen reitzel 2014.03.13

    "This illustrates how simple health insurance reform could have been: just allow people to buy into Medicare regardless of age or income.indtead we got 2500 pages of affordable care act and the real problems are not solved"

    I take it you're voting for Rick Weiland Anne?

  19. Jenny 2014.03.13

    Oh, but universal Medicare would be socialism, and we can't have that in America -the greatest country in the world.

  20. Vickie 2014.03.13

    Add more insult to injury in this story: Ron Fuchs was a teacher in the Hanson County school system when I was in junior high. I never had him as a teacher and can't remember what class he taught. I remember him as a quiet man that was well liked by the high school kids.

  21. Joan Brown 2014.03.13

    I receive $610.00 a month retirement SS and that is drawing enough off my ex husband so that I receive half of what he does. Because my SS is so low I qualify for a small amount of SSI which qualifies me for medicaid. In SD there are two types of medicaid, one pays strictly for medical, and the other includes dental and eye care. I started drawing SS at age 62 and continued working part time until I was almost 66. When I was working I only qualified for the medicaid that paid strictly for the medical care, now I am so low income that because I qualify for SSI income I qualify for the other medicaid. All in all I think the Governor should quit being such a tightwad and help the people of SD

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