Like many of you, my wife Penny and I are conservative when it comes to spending. We’ve lived in our home for more than 50 years, and we don’t drive the newest cars. But, when I learned that by not expanding Medicaid, funds allocated to South Dakota are going to help fund healthcare in other states – it simply did not make sense.

South Dakotan’s federal income tax is paying for Medicaid expansion to help those who work but earn too little to pay for insurance, so why aren’t we receiving the benefits? And I know many farm and ranch families who could use help when it comes to paying for healthcare.

I’m especially concerned when it comes to mental healthcare.

It was just a couple years ago when we were knee-deep in mud and enduring horrible prices. There were a whole lot of farm families who were really struggling. And for many, the extreme stress brought on mental health issues. Many of us knew friends and/or family members who battled depression during that time.

If only they had been diagnosed. There are treatments and medications that can help. I am afraid many did not seek help because they thought they could not afford it.

Well, here we are, around the first part of July and desperately in need of moisture. The worst thing that can happen on the farm – good prices or bad – is not having anything to sell. I’m concerned about our farmers’ and ranchers’ mental health. Those extra health care dollars could be just what a family needs to seek help.

One thing I do hear, is some are concerned about what will happen if the feds change their mind and cut back. Well, we’ll just do what farmers do all the time – we make adjustments. But right now, I know there are many families and communities who could use these dollars. So, why send them to other states when we have South Dakotans who could use them?