The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is asking the state’s top budget office for permission to run a deficit next year. The agency says part of its rising costs are due to the recently passed health care reform. But Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell says the state cannot afford increasing health care funding for the poor.
We cannot afford to continue doing the same thing that we are doing. It is insanity to think that every year you can throw more money into this program. It grows faster than the ability of the people of South Carolina to pay for it, it grows faster than the real growth in the whole budget and real income in this state.
South Carolina residents pay both state and federal taxes to fund Medicaid. McConnell says the Budget and Control Board and state department managers need to stick within their budgets instead of “looking for a fountain of funds where they can put a spending cup under and get some more.”
What concerns me is what’s getting ready to occur in state government. You have a government agency sitting there running red ink, then on top of that DSS is claiming they are going to run a $50 million deficit. Now, this is a state with a constitution that says you cannot run a deficit, and then you got the Department of Corrections overspending to the tune of apparently what they are projecting is a $27 million deficit.
Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Jeff Stensland says a major problem is state law. Stensland says “The state legislature has said South Carolina Medicaid is not allowed to pay providers any less they pay them now. We are the only state with that restriction.” A report says a 10 percent decrease would cut the agency’s deficit almost in half.
McConnell says the state has to start change with getting the state’s departments in line, and stop overspending.
If you take the $360 or 40 that they are admitting at HHS, add $50 more million from DSS, and then roll on top of that Corrections, what’s happened to the budgetary process and what’s the signal to all the other managers in state government? If you need more money, go the Budget and Control Board and try to get it.