The S.C. legislature, including our local representatives, Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Bill Herbkersman, has done many dumb things â€" but opting out of the Medicaid expansion feature of the Affordable Care Act is one of the most spiteful actions a governing body could take against its neediest residents.
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The primary reason given was that the state could not afford the cost. But in reality, cost is only used as a way of rationalizing the unconscionable decision. For the first three years of Medicaid expansion the federal government would pick up the entire tab, and there would be no cost to the state. At any point in time the state could opt out of the Medicaid expansion. So the state would bear no cost, and 294,330 residents (the Kaiser Family Foundation's estimate) would have access to health care. Three years of access to health care is better than none.
Rather than take the approach that other Republican governors have taken in expanding Medicaid, Gov. Nikki Haley put political vindictiveness and spite ahead of common sense and the citizens of this state. That includes giving away millions of our taxpayer dollars â€" tax dollars that will now go to other states that would have gone to in-state medical care providers.
The governor stated the legislature's and her position very well when she said: â€œWe will continue to fight Obamacare every step of the way.â€