A central issue for this campaign is healthcare.
On my first day in office, I will expand Medicaid under the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by Executive Order.
The expansion of Medicaid is of vital importance to the health and safety of South Carolina's poorest citizens. Governor McMaster has refused to expand Medicaid. This continuation of the legacy of his predecessor, Former Governor Nikki Haley has ensured South Carolina remains one of 14 states who have refused to place a priority on the lives of the poorest of their citizenry. Governor McMaster's continued claims that our state can not afford to do so are disingenuous at best, particularly when our State has an apparent surplus of funds.
If Medicaid had been expanded in 2010 to include our state's poorest citizens, the first three years would have been at no cost to our state. Currently the federal government will still cover 90% of the cost into the future.
This inaction has left billions of dollars unavailable to South Carolina, money that is already funded by our federal tax dollars. It has forced hospitals to continue to provide uncompensated care to those who would have been eligible for Medicaid, raising the cost of everyone's health care and insurance premiums.
Most importantly, it has caused the deaths of thousands of South Carolinians and is shortening the lives of countless others. When a government refuses to act on behalf of the health and safety of its own citizens and can afford to do so, is this form of policy violence any different than murderous violence?
- Over 300,000 SC residents are being denied access to the same health care insurance available in 36 other states.
- When SC does expand Medicaid, its uninsured population will drop from 660,000 to 466,000.
- 92,000 of those residents eligible for expanded Medicaid have no realistic means to be able to afford any health insurance at all.
- Nearly one in ten deaths among the elderly and poor are the direct result of a lack of health insurance.
- Billions of dollars in federal funds that South Carolina is eligible for will continue to be lost in the next decade by not expanding Medicaid.
I will also rescind the prior Executive Order issued by Gov. McMaster (08/24/17 Executive Order #2017-15) that restricted Medicaid funds from women's health care providers.
I will also instruct the Department of Health and Environmental Quality (DHEC) to eliminate the work requirements for Medicaid (01/11/18 Press Release) currently being implemented under a Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) waiver.
A Position Paper regarding Medicaid expansion in South Carolina is being developed and will be released this summer.