April 28, 2015
Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Jenny Horne recently championed the important issue of increasing the number of health-care providers in the state. However, they made assertions that need to be corrected.
The number of low-income citizens eligible for Medicaid expansion is about half of the 500,000 Sen. Davis and Rep. Horne cite. About 194,000 of them fall into our state’s health-insurance coverage gap because they do not qualify for our current Medicaid program and earn less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level, thus not qualifying for premium assistance to purchase coverage through the state’s health-insurance marketplace.
South Carolina has the option of accepting about $4.7 million a day in federal funds to provide affordable private health insurance to all those in our coverage gap. Sen. Davis and Rep. Horne believe that we can’t afford to do this because by 2020 the state would have to pay 10 percent of the cost of this program. Fortunately, Arkansas’ and Kentucky’s use of federal funding to close their coverage gaps with private insurance suggests that they will cover their 10 percent state match from the money they save from other health programs now offered.
Sen. Davis and Rep. Horne write, “Better access to health care at a lower cost is a clear win for all South Carolinians.” This is accurate only if all South Carolinians have health insurance to access the additional providers. That’s why our Legislature should close our coverage gap. We can afford it.
Frank Knapp Jr. President & CEO S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce Columbia