PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Now that President Barack Obama's re-election has cleared the way for the full implementation of his health care law, doctors and hospitals in South Dakota are urging the state to expand its Medicaid program so thousands of additional low-income residents can receive coverage.

But Gov. Dennis Daugaard says any expansion of coverage is unlikely for at least several years while the potential costs are examined.

The South Dakota Association of Health Care Organizations said about 48,000 uninsured residents will be left behind if South Dakota doesn't ease its eligibility requirements for Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor.

"If we're left out of the benefits that can come from the Affordable Care Act, how do we take care of the people of South Dakota who are below the federal poverty level?" said Dr. Rob Allison, of Pierre, president of the South Dakota State Medical Association.

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