Glimmer of hope for Medicaid expansion

The South Carolina House and Senate started the new legislative session yesterday.  For those who have not experienced the occasion it’s similar to the first day back at school in the fall.  Everybody is friendly and happy to see each other.  

All were in a positive mood except for the small crowd in front of the State House in the morning protesting Obamacare and calling for state legislation to nullify the law they claim allows the federal government’s “take-over” of healthcare.  The protesters included several on motorized power scooters that they probably purchased with the help of government insurance called Medicare.  The irony would be laughable if it wasn’t reminiscent of the very first time the nation heard the phrase, “Keep your government hands off my Medicare”.  For the record, I was at that former Congressman Bob Inglis town hall meeting in Simpsonville, SC, when that statement heard around the world was made.

The Obamacare-protesters would have really hooted and hollered had they heard what a reliable source told me yesterday.  The GOP House leadership would like to find a way to expand the state’s Medicaid program as allowed under Obamacare according to my source. 

While Governor Nikki Haley and her HHS director Tony Keck have been telling the public that we can’t afford to expand healthcare services to hundreds of thousands of uninsured low-income South Carolinians, Republican leaders at least in the House might be seeing the issue through less partisan eyes.  The benefits of a Medicaid expansion are improving the health of our citizens thus creating a more productive workforce, making health insurance more affordable for small businesses, protecting our hospitals from revenue loss and adding tens of thousands of new jobs to boost the state’s economy.  

If my source is correct, the real battle in the State House this year over Medicaid expansion might not be so much between different factions in the Legislature but between the Governor and the General Assembly. 


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