Accept necessity of Medicaid expansion
We were surprised by The Post and Courierís Nov. 24 support of South Carolinaís rejection of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
If she could, Gov. Nikki Haley would do away with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In your editorial, you argue that the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare may add 500,000 South Carolinians to the program, potentially costing the state millions.
You did not inform your readers about the several bipartisan groups who disagree with you. In fact, a recent Kaiser Commission report outlines how states could save money under full implementation of the ACAís Medicaid provisions. (see http://www.kff.org/medicaid/upload/8384_ES.pdf)
As emergency physicians, we fear our patients, both insured and uninsured, will suffer as a result of this decision.
Opting out of Medicaid expansion will do nothing other than to push the costs of health care to emergency departments and hospitals in the form of uncompensated care, and then on to consumers in the form of higher premiums.
Itís like punching a pillow: You push in one side with a cost-saving measure from the state, and it comes out the other with higher premiums for working families.
There is no such thing as free health care, and instead of trying to prevent disease by getting everyone covered, we will have more patients on dialysis, more hypertensive emergencies, stokes, and heart attacks. Our emergency rooms will continue to be full, and our patients ó all patients ó will suffer.
Whether we like it or not, the re-election of President Barack Obama guarantees the implementation of Obamacare.
As a state, we can fight every aspect of the law hoping it will go away, or we can accept it and determine what benefit it may bring the citizens of our state.
In the case of Medicaid expansion, thatís 100 percent federal payments until 2016 and 90 percent federal payments thereafter.
And as far as the safety net goes, donít worry. Hospital-based emergency physicians are the only physicians in America who care for all patients, regardless of insurance status, no questions asked.
We are proud to serve as your safety net.
We ask only that our leaders donít exacerbate the problem by failing to board a ship that has already left the dock.
Lance Scott, M.D.
This letter was also signed by Eric Larson, M.D., and Blake Willis, M.D.