Gov. Mark Sanford is calling on U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and other proponents of the health care plan to change their position. Sanford is calling on the plan to be scrapped all together, or at least seriously changed.
Sanford says the legislation as written would expand South Carolina Medicaid rolls by 543,000 people, costing the state’s taxpayers an additional $1.17 billion annually in 10 years and eating up almost 40 percent of the state budget in just five years. Sanford says it would effectively place almost one-third of the state’s residents on Medicaid.
The governor says that for South Carolina, the billion dollar burden will exacerbate an already brutal state budget situation, forcing state legislators to either cut further into bone in the areas of education, law enforcement and economic development, or raise taxes.
In a round table discussion in Columbia Tuesday, Clyburn says he’s glad to see that the governor is concerned about the state’s tight budget, asserting that he did not show concern when he opposed acceptance of the federal stimulus funds. “And I wish that the state’s were showing that kind of concern when states were struggling, back when we were doing the stimulus,” said Clyburn. “I think that we would have had a much better deal for South Carolina, rather than that foolishness that we went through. That’s all we were trying to do with the stimulus, trying to help states that were struggling. So I’m glad that he’s paying attention to the struggles that we’re having in South Carolina.”
Sanford says he knows the plan is a well-intended attempt to offer a solution to a serious issue, but he says it’s fundamentally flawed in the same way the stimulus efforts were, because the states and the taxpayers are footing the bill.
Sanford says that anyone to suggest that a nearly trillion dollar government takeover of health care that moves a sixth of the U.S. economy under bureaucrats’ control will somehow result in substantive cost savings for the taxpayer borders on the ridiculous. Sanford called the plan a “radical departure from our nation’s free market foundations” which he says will be a mistake financially and medically.
Clyburn said that the plan will work out in the end. He says the studies don’t give full consideration to the affects of Medicaid coverage, and he says there will be savings for state governments. He says the construction of community health centers will give a lot people a place to go for care, taking pressure off of local hospital emergency rooms and creating tremendous savings in the system. Clyburn says researchers in the Congressional Budget Office should understand that but it’s not in their analysis. “They know that when you create these community health centers and bring more people into Medicaid, and they are treated at the centers, that’s a savings of $23 billion in the House plan, $13.4 billion in the Senate plan,” said Clyburn. “But none of that is in the scoring.”
Clyburn says he was informed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi Monday night that he has been named to serve on the House-Senate health care conference committee.
Meanwhile, Senators Jim DeMint of South Carolina and John Ensign of Nevada, raised a Constitutional Point of Order on the Senate floor Tuesday against the Democrat’s health care bill. It was on behalf of the Steering Committee, a caucus of conservative senators. “This is not legislation, this is a rule change,” said Demint. “We will be passing a new law, and at the same time creating a Senate rule, that makes it out of order to either amend or appeal the law.” The Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on the constitutionality of the health care bill.