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Gov. Sanford urges citizens to get involved in Healthcare debate
By Gov. Mark Sanford
posted March 18, 2010
GUEST OPINION – Given that all signs point
to this week being the week a decision is made in Washington D.C. on
healthcare reform, I ask South Carolinians - who will bear substantial
costs if this legislation passes - to make their voices heard before
the gavel falls.
It's worth noting that today, the Fifteenth of March, is remembered as
the 'Ides of March'- a day of reckoning and foreboding. In the same
way, today represents a time of foreboding for our nation given the
historic nature of what is taking place in Washington.
Put simply, this healthcare legislation represents a trillion dollar
government takeover of nearly one-fifth of the nation's economy. I
believe it is a mistake both financially and medically, and that
forcing this enormous healthcare plan on South Carolinians and
Americans in general amounts to nothing less than Congressional
malpractice. So we'd once again ask Representatives Clyburn and Spratt,
for the sake of our state's budget and our taxpayers' wallets, to
reconsider the damage this government takeover of health care will
The U.S. Senate healthcare bill being considered this week expands
South Carolina Medicaid rolls by over 60 percent, or 483,500 people.
This would mean that nearly one in three South Carolinians will be
dependent on Medicaid, the highest percentage ever in our state's
history. This unprecedented expansion would cost state taxpayers at
minimum an additional $687 million over the next decade and set us on a
course that will grow Medicaid to over 40 percent of the state budget
in just five years.
This legislation also impacts the state's pharmacy rebate program -
costing the state up to $400 million over the next ten years - and
changes the Medicare Part D "claw-back" payment that could cost state
taxpayers up to $15 million over that same period. In total over the
next decade, this healthcare legislation will boost South Carolina's
Medicaid spending to over $21.58 billion with state funds alone - more
than three times the estimated $6 billion in state funds spent on law
enforcement over the next ten years. These numbers are untenable given
our state's current budget challenges, and state legislators would be
forced to either cut significantly in the areas of education, law
enforcement and economic development, or raise taxes.
This week indeed represents a time for choosing on the healthcare
front, and I'd once again urge all taxpayers to make their voices heard
- in particular to Representatives Spratt and Clyburn, who at this
point support this bill.
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