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South Dakota lawmakers urged to expand Medicaid

PIERRE (AP) -- Health care officials and some low-income people have urged South Dakota lawmakers to expand Medicaid to cover thousands more people.

The House and Senate committees on Health and Human Services held a joint meeting Wednesday to consider the advantages and drawbacks of expanding the program as part of the federal health care overhaul. Lawmakers will not make a decision until later.

South Dakota's Medicaid program now covers about 116,000 children, adults and disabled people. If the state decides to expand eligibility, another 48,000 people who are mostly adults without children would be added to the program.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard wants the state to delay a decision because he is uncertain the federal government can keep its promise to pick up most of the cost of the Medicaid expansion.