J.T. Fey

Three Northeast South Dakota legislators left no doubt they will not support an increase in state funding for Medicaid.

District 5 Sen. Lee Schoenbeck and District 5 Rep. Nancy York, both Watertown Republicans, and District 4 Sen. John Wiik, R-Big Stone City, all spoke against Medicaid expansion during a legislative cracker barrel Saturday.

The cracker barrel is an annual event on the final day of the Watertown Winter Farm Show. The three legislators, along with District 5 Rep. Hugh Bartels, R-Watertown, spent an hour answering questions posed by moderator Steve Jurrens of KXLG Radio and about two dozen people in attendance. 

Wiik said he is “vehemently opposed” to an expansion, which he called “a guaranteed shortcut to a state income tax in South Dakota.”

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District 5 Sen. John Wiik at Saturday's Legislative Cracker Barrel at the Watertown Farm Show.

South Dakota has received about $1.4 billion from the American Recovery Plant Act, causing some to say a portion of that money should be used to increase Medicaid payments.

Wiik said the upfront money offered by the U.S. Government would cease after the first six to eight years, leaving the state with a permanent expenditure and perhaps an eventual cut in the funding.

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Watertown legislators voice opposition to expanded Medicaid – Watertown Public Opinion