South Dakota will seek work requirements for some Medicaid recipients

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South Dakota is set to join a growing list of states looking to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

The state’s Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Tuesday the state will ask the Trump administration for permission to require that work be a condition for eligibility. 

“Work is an important part of personal fulfillment,” Daugaard said during his State of the State address. 


“By making this adjustment to our Medicaid program, we can continue to help those who need it the most and start to connect those who can work with jobs that give them that sense of self-worth and accomplishment.”

South Dakota’s Medicaid program is available to children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and low-income patients. 

Daugaard said the requirement would only apply to a “subset of that last category.” 

“Very low-income, able-bodied parents who aren’t already working or caring for a child under 1. That’s approximately 4,500 individuals,” Daugaard said.

South Dakota would join nine other states asking the Trump administration for permission to impose work requirements on some Medicaid recipients.

The administration, which has encouraged states to impose such requirements, is preparing to release guidelines soon on the matter. 

“Believing that community engagement requirements do not support or promote the objectives of Medicaid is a tragic example of the soft bigotry of low expectations consistently espoused by the prior administration,” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said to state officials in November. “Those days are over.”

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