Yes, you read the title correctly.
From The State:
COLUMBIA — Imagine someone offered to give you $4.1 billion over three years, and if you did not take it, your neighbors would get the money instead.We covered this today on Occupy the Microphone, if you want irate, anti-Republican rants from me and my co-hosts.
That is the situation South Carolina is in with the federal government, according to S.C. House Democrats who are pushing for the state to expand Medicaid – the joint federal-state health insurance program for the poor and disabled.
The SC House rejected the expansion of Medicaid:
COLUMBIA, SC — House lawmakers refused to expand Medicaid in South Carolina on Tuesday after hours of debate that echoed the conflicts of class, race and religion.Republicans are notoriously bad Christians, though, so I don't know why Rep. Rutherford thought an appeal to their religion would help.
For nearly five hours on Tuesday, Democrats quoted statistics and scripture in arguing for an amendment to the state’s $22.7 billion spending plan that would make 500,000 more poor people eligible for taxpayer-funded health insurance. They even proposed an amendment that would require any lawmaker voting against the expansion to forfeit their own taxpayer-funded health insurance.
But Republicans – who control the state House of Representatives – said the plan would cost too much and questioned if it would improve the health of South Carolinians. Amendments were defeated with a series of votes along party lines.
"If more money and more government produced healthier citizens, Americans should be the healthiest population on the planet – but we’re not,” House Speaker Bobby Harrell said in a news release. “The current system is clearly broken but instead of trying to fix this broken system, Obamacare simply makes it bigger.”
The expansion is an optional part of what’s formally called the Affordable Care Act. Expanding Medicaid would provide health insurance to anyone in South Carolina who makes 138 percent or below the federal poverty level. That’s about $15,000 a year for a single person and $32,000 a year for a family of four.
The federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost of the expansion for the first three years – about $4.1 billion. After that, the state would gradually start paying for a small part of the expansion while the federal government continued to cover most of it.
But even covering that small part of the expansion would cost South Carolina between $613 million and $1.9 billion by 2020 – depending on how many people signed up for the program and how much the state had to pay doctors.
Democrats tried to make expansion a moral issue. Rep. Leon Howard, D-Richland, said it was “a common thing” for seniors in his district to decide between paying their utility bill or buying their medication. Rep. James Smith, D-Richland, showed lawmakers how a person making $15,000 a year does not make enough to cover their expenses.
And Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell, D-Lancaster, told lawmakers how a man came to her law office carrying four grocery bags filled with $500,000 worth of medical bills for his wife, who has breast cancer. She said 60 percent of bankruptcies in the U.S. are because of medical debt.
“It is our moral obligation, it is a duty that all of us are bound, because we are Christians, we believe in God and God tell us to treat the least of these as you would him,” House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, said from the House floor. “Denying them access to health care, denying them insurance, is not how anyone should be treated.”
House Republicans were notably silent during Tuesday’s debate, not once challenging the Democrats who were speaking. At various times during the morning, House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, posted to his Twitter account that House Republicans were “prepared to stand strong & defeat all budget amendments opting SC into Obamacare expansion.”
Where is Governor Haley?
Even Gov. Nikki Haley, who canceled her appointments on Tuesday to spend time with her mother who had been admitted to the hospital, issued a news release thanking House Republicans for “fighting to protect South Carolina from the looming public policy nightmare and fiscal disaster that is ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion.”Does Haley's mother, Ms. Raj Randhawa, have health insurance? Apparently so. I say, let's take it away. Not a problem, right? I mean, if that is considered acceptable for the poor and disabled of South Carolina, I am sure it's acceptable for Governor Haley's mother. After all, according to the Governor's 'biography'--the USA is the land of equality! (maybe she didn't even read her own biography)
Let's subject the Haley family to the same conditions 500,000 poor South Carolinians are subjected to and see how Haley feels about that.
Then again, since she has no heart, she probably won't feel a thing.
As of today, Governor Haley is crazy busy hobnobbing with rich people in Florida, instead of dealing with pressing issues at home--whether it is her mother or the rest of us. She is auditioning for future lobbying-gigs at the National Association of Manufacturers Board of Directors dinner in Boca Raton. God knows, those dinners are far more important than either a sick mother or the people of South Carolina getting our hard-earned taxes sent to other states, which is what will now happen. (To my out-of-state readers: you're welcome. Send your thank-you cards to Governor Haley, who has generously given you OUR earmarked tax money.) After all, if she was HERE AT HOME (which she so rarely is), she'd have to face the music and actually answer questions... and Haley is so inept and incompetent, she can't even give local interviews, preferring to talk to THE VIEW and VOGUE.
If this dinner was in a less-photogenic, less high-profile or more wintry location, bank on it, Haley wouldn't be there. Free trips to FLORIDA during winter! (Last week, Haley spoke in Orlando to 4,000 representatives of companies that supply Walmart stores.) Good work if you can get it.
Haley denies 500,000 people health care, but be assured, she denies herself NOTHING.