State should expand Medicaid

I must take exception to state Rep. Alan Clemmons one-sided Feb. 5 Medicaid expansion column. He basically concludes that South Carolina cannot afford the Affordable Health Care Act’s Medicaid expansion because it will increase state costs over time.

His thinking is why the Republican Party is becoming increasingly irrelevant. I’m a Republican (maybe not for long) and I do not agree with him. Here are some points he conveniently ignores.

South Carolinians pay federal income taxes. We, the taxpayers of South Carolina, will be footing the bill for Medicaid expansion in 40 or more states without getting any benefit for South Carolina. I would like my taxes helping our state – not New York or California.

My health insurance premiums are very high, in part because the 500,000 low income South Carolinians who don’t qualify for Medicaid are forced to use hospital emergency rooms when they need care. Expanding Medicaid will reduce hospital costs and thus reduce my private health insurance premiums.

I personally know several people who cannot afford health insurance, who work hard, and who do not qualify for either Medicaid or for the new health insurance subsidies.

Clemmons, and others, seem to imply that the 500,000 medically under-served South Carolinians are deadbeats or otherwise not worthy of the kind of medical care the rest of us receive. Simply not so.

Adequate medical care should be available to everyone. Clemmons’ solution is “the haves should get it, the have-nots should tough it out.” We’re better people than that and the Republicans should be better people than that.

ObamaCare is not perfect and hopefully our legislators will get serious with controlling medical cost inflation.

In the meantime, we should take the 90 percent cost sharing Obama offers and help our people – not help the poor in other states.

Paul Anderson