Proposed work requirement resolution advances

Another citizen’s vote on Medicaid eligibility is a step closer after passage by a House committee Monday.

The House State Affairs Committee passed SJR501 11 to 2 to put a constitutional amendment on the 2024 ballot that would allow the state the option to implement a work requirement for “able-bodied” Medicaid recipients.

The South Dakota Capitol building in Pierre. (Seth Tupper/SD Searchlight)

In 2022, voters passed a constitutional amendment expanding Medicaid to poor South Dakotans between 18 and 64.

However, resolution supporters say it is unclear if voters meant to include “able-bodied” people to participate.

Opponents said the legislature had seven chances over the past decade to implement expanded Medicaid and allow the state to consider a work requirement but refused.

They said Arkansas implemented a work requirement when allowed under the Trump administration. Opponents said it kept qualified people from getting medical coverage and did not increase employment.

Supporters called the measure “clarifying” the intent of the voters.

If passed by the voters, the constitutional amendment would not add a work requirement but give the state the option to do so if allowed by the federal government. Currently, the Biden administration does not allow a work requirement.

SJR501 has already passed the Senate. The next–and last stop–is the House of Representatives.