South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has joined a number of other fiscally responsible governors in making the decision to opt out of Obamacare’s mandated Medicaid expansion. As ATR previously noted, the program is already growing at an unsustainable rate in its current state:
“Nationwide, Medicaid costs are growing at an unsustainable rate, with taxpayers as always being on the hook for covering the soaring tab. According to a study by the John Locke Foundation, total federal and state Medicaid spending has ballooned from $70 billion in 1990 to approximately $400 billion today- -a budget busting 571 percent increase.”
Obamacare does nothing to quell this alarming increase in Medicaid spending. In fact, it simply makes matters worse by adding more individuals to state Medicaid rolls, without any effort to reduce cost or increase efficiency.
In South Carolina, 1 in 4 citizens are receiving Medicaid, and the state simply cannot afford an additional expansion of an entitlement that is already projected to eat up more and more of the state’s budget, squeezing out funding for other priorities such as education and transportation.
According to South Carolina Medicaid Director Anthony Keck, enrolling in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion could cost taxpayers an additional $2.4 billion from 2014-2020. This expansion would put other important funding areas on the chopping block, and will likely cause some lawmakers to pursue job-killing tax hikes and fee increases. Even without the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, Medicaid spending in the state is still expected to grow in leaps and bounds in the coming years. It was reported in the journal Health Affairs that in SC the “Medicaid program may require almost nine of every 10 newly-available state general fund dollars," and that's even without accepting the Obamacare expansion. The Obama White House now sees fit to pressure South Carolina to expand a program that it is currently struggling to afford.
Americans for Tax Reform urges South Carolina legislators to follow the lead of Governor Haley, who has taken a fiscally prudent position on the issue. Gov. Haley not only opposes Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, but has also come out in support of block granting Medicaid to the states, which allows states to take control of this runaway entitlement and reform how their tax dollars are spent. Spending interests in Columbia are sure to pressure lawmakers to move forward with the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. Americans for Tax Reform urges legislators to stand with Gov. Haley in defense of hard-working South Carolinian taxpayers.