The fate of Medicaid expansion in South Carolina has already been decided, according to one Republican lawmaker.
Rep. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, speaking on SCETV’s weekly political talk show, “This Week in the State House,” said Thursday that Gov. Nikki Haley told the federal Department of Health and Human Services that the state will not accept federal money to participate in the expansion — an optional program under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“That decision has been made. It’s an executive decision that has been made,” Smith said.
Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said the governor formalized her decision in her annual State of the State Address.
On the program Thursday, Smith said Haley made a smart choice to decline the expansion because the state’s Medicaid program is already too expensive and isn’t making South Carolinians healthier.
“Giving someone health insurance does not improve their health. That’s been proven time and time again,” he said.
Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, also speaking on the talk show, said the consequences not to expand Medicaid would be “catastrophic” for the state.
“It’s being penny-wise and pound foolish for us to say we can’t afford to do it,” Cobb-Hunter said.
“This Week at the State House” is hosted by Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell.
“You can see why there’s debate on this issue here in Columbia,” McConnell said at the end of the 30-minute broadcast.
Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.
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