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Sequester Arrives: SD Poised to Lose More than $25 Million

Monday, March 04, 2013   (0 Comments)
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(03/04/13) YANKTON, S.D. - Some $85 billion in automatic, mandatory spending cuts are beginning nationwide as part of the process known as sequestration. The reductions will be rolled out over the next seven months, affecting a wide variety of agencies and programs. In South Dakota, the budget reductions to local programs and services could run to the tens of millions.

Tim Trithart with the Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas said they're in line to lose some federal funding, and in the end, he predicted, the cuts will most hurt those who are least able to afford it.

"Community Health Centers, you know, they're not run to make a profit," Trithart said. "And every little bit of money that we make, we end up putting towards our patients, which are low-income. So, this basically means you end up cutting staff or cutting the availability of services."

Trithart called the automatic cuts "penny wise and pound foolish," noting that many are aimed at programs that pay dividends in the long run, such as helping the poor get regular health care, so that medical issues can be treated before they become major health concerns.

"You can choose not to get the oil changed on your car for only so long before, y'know, your transmission blows," Trithart declared. "And that's sort of how I see Community Health Centers: We're sort of that standard 'oil change' that you need to make sure is accessible, because you'll end up paying for it one way or another. It's a lot cheaper to just take care of that routine maintenance, whether it's your body or your car."

It's estimated that under the sequester, South Dakota will lose around $25 million in funding, along with a number of public and private sector jobs in the aftermath.

More information is at

Jerry Oster, Public News Service

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