Statehouse Report – Week 7

Promises, promises.

President Obama made billions of dollars in promises during his State of the Union. It brings me back to one huge Federal promise that stuck directly on the backs of the taxpayers in our state – the “Affordable Care Act.”

South Carolina’s Democrats make the same promises. It’s been more than a month since they promised to put 40% of our state on some form of government healthcare. They promised hundreds of millions in new education spending. They want billions in new spending on roads.

Like the President, our state’s Democrat leadership has no ideas about how to pay for any of their promises. But since they are a small and shrinking minority in the state House, they have the luxury of not having to make tough decisions. They don’t have to tell you they’re going to fight to raise your taxes (but we’ll all get to see them in action when the state budget is on the floor of the House next month).

A new healthcare proposal this week highlights the basic difference in philosophy between our two parties.

House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White and the Health Care Budget Subcommittee Chairman Murrell Smith proposed a plan that opts out of the massive Obamacare Medicaid expansion, and instead invests in measures to create accountability and better health outcomes for our state’s Medicaid system.

The proposed plan focuses on five main areas:
· Holding healthcare providers accountable for providing the best care at the lowest cost;
· Investing our limited taxpayer resources where they are needed most – our rural areas and the areas of our state with a very high density for disease and illness;
· Strengthening primary care by directing resources to these basic providers;
· Providing inventive payments to providers for implementing innovative ways to treat illness while simultaneously driving out excess cost; and
· Exploring ways to replace our outdated care model with a more efficient and effective method.

Chairman White said this week that we have two options: Taking the easy road of more government money and dependency outlined by the Washington Democrats or creating South Carolina solutions to reform Medicaid. He also thanked Governor Haley for helping with the proposals.

The plan does not require any additional state resources. The plan of just expanding the Medicaid system promoted by Democrats does nothing to work on improving outcomes. It is only focused on spending more taxpayer money with the end goal of nearly 2 in 5 South Carolina residents being on some sort of government healthcare by 2020.

Taxpayers in our state spend nearly $6.5 billion each year on Medicaid. What we have to show for it is a state that ranks 46th nationally in overall health, 49th in diabetes, and 42nd in obesity – with more than a third of our state listed as obese.

There is no doubt that our healthcare system has major flaws. As the federal government insists on throwing billions more into an already inefficient system, it destroys any possible market forces that may be left to hold down costs. The Chairman’s plan works to reform and stabilize the system instead of drafting hundreds of thousands more South Carolinians on to government health rolls.

My colleagues in the Republican Caucus are anxious to review the plan in detail as we work on the budget in the coming weeks.

It is an honor to serve you and your family in the General Assembly. If you ever find yourself in need of assistance navigating state government, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with my colleagues in the House, don’t hesitate to contact me at 803.984.6616.

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