Wednesday of this week as South Carolina was faced with a snow and ice storm that would close down much of the state, Governor Nikki Haley prudently requested that President Obama give the state a federal declaration of emergency status. According to newspaper report, Governor Haley specifically asked the President for federal aid for “stranded motorists, isolated citizens, medical emergencies, downed trees, road debris, and numerous and widespread power outages.
“That same day the President agreed and directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to:
coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all counties of the State of South Carolina.
Should the feds provide any of this assistance to South Carolina, it will pay 75 percent of the cost with the state picking up the balance.
Well, Governor, we have another emergency in this state. We have hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians who are facing a public health catastrophe.
These are the adults falling into the “Medicaid donut hole” created by the Governor and General Assembly by refusing to take federal money to expand Medicaid. These victims either have no children or make too much for the state’s traditional Medicaid program but who are too poor to receive premium subsidies from the new Health Insurance Marketplace. Bottom line–they have no health insurance.
And instead of a 75/25 split the Governor accepted, this Medicaid expansion money is 100 percent federal dollars right now.
Maybe if we corral all of these “Medicaid donut hole” folks into one geographic area and put some ice and snow around them, the Governor and press could see their faces and understand the public health emergency they face every day. The Governor might see the value of asking the feds for help in this crisis or at least the value of a good press announcement photo opp for her re-election campaign.