Lawmakers, governor show colors in budget

info@islandpacket.comJune 13, 2013 

State Rep. Bill Herbkersman recently wrote: "The budget is a statement of values above and beyond any political rhetoric because we spend money on what we value. If we fund it, we care about it."

I guess our governor and legislators don't care about the 312,000 South Carolinians without health insurance, many the working poor who make less than $15,000 a year. Our legislators disregard the will of the people; various polls find that about 65 percent support expanding Medicaid. It would be funded 100 percent by the federal government for three years, go to 95 percent and then drop to 90 percent in 2020.

State Sen. Tom Davis says we cannot afford the 10 percent. It would cost the state $372 million through 2022. Yet our legislators and governor had no compunction giving hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits to corporations setting up shop here.

Yes, these businesses will provide a few thousand jobs, but 44,000 health care jobs would be created with Medicaid expansion, according to the S.C. Hospital Association and the University of South Carolina's Moore School of Business. Also, providing Medicaid to the working poor alleviates hospitals' having to provide them uncompensated medical care.

The Moore School concludes: "The federal funding South Carolina would receive by opting into the Medicaid expansion program provides both individual and social benefit: additional jobs and incomes for individuals and increased tax revenues for the state overall."

Our governor and legislators just don't care. I wonder whether Jesus would care.

Paul Russo


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