The House voted 96-6 Monday to use more than $173 million in federal Medicaid money to cover planned cuts to health care and the Department of Disabilities. The funds depend on final agreement between the U.S. House and Senate on a plan that would send aid to states.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Cooper says the money would help to put off deep cuts.
“It doesn’t address the hole we have, but it addresses the cuts to services. The budget is balanced as it sits on the table(without the Medicaid money) but people don’t like the extent of the cuts. What this does is alleviate those cuts for another year.”
Meanwhile, Democrats met just before Monday afternoon’s budget debate began, to preview their budget proposals. And they called Republicans hypocrits, saying that many of those in Congress have criticized stimulus dollars and extra health care funding, yet Republicans in South Carolina want the federal money.
Cooper says the matching funds would be there for another two quarters, and lawmakers are doing what they have to do to cover services.
“Nobody’s excited about it, but the money is there. If it weren’t, we would be making the cuts that were originally proposed.”
Cooper says House members will also look at restructuring state agencies and consolidating some services.
Democratic leader Harry Ott also critized the former budget work of Republicans, saying that a lack of reserve funds and Republican-driven tax structure put the state in the mess it’s currently in.