A proviso added Tuesday to the South Carolina Senate’s budget proposal would study ways that the state could help uninsured South Carolina residents.
The plan from State Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to conduct a study on what other states are doing to help those who cannot afford health insurance. Lourie, a proponent of expanding Medicaid eligibility in South Carolina, wants the study to examine how much the coverage gap costs South Carolina now.
“It asks the head of the Health and Human Services Department to bring back to this General Assembly a report on what options are available to close the gap of the uninsured,” Lourie said on the floor of the Senate Tuesday.
“This is a request to say we’ve got 123,000 working South Carolinians who don’t have access to healthcare today, they don’t qualify for Medicaid,” said Lourie.
Lourie said it is not a proposal to grow Medicaid in South Carolina. “This proposal does not expand Medicaid, I’m just asking we do a report,” Lourie said.
He said South Carolina needs to look at what other states are doing to help those who cannot afford health insurance and who do not qualify for Medicaid or healthcare insurance subsidies and see if what they are doing can work here.
The proposal was included in the budget by voice vote Tuesday, meaning senators were not recorded as voting for or against the idea.