The Obama Administration official whose agency oversees Medicaid believes governors in every state will evenutally come around and agree to Medicaid expansion, including South Carolina.
Part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) relies upon states expanding Medicaid eligibility requirements to cover those individuals who do not earn enough to qualify for participation on health insurance exchanges created by the law. A 2012 Supreme Court decision effectively made the expansion voluntary for states. Gov. Nikki Haley opted out of the program.
South Carolina is among 19 states who are not expanding Medicaid to those within 133 percent of federal poverty guidelines. Haley, an opponent of Obamacare, at the time said the expansion would cost too much for South Carolina in the long run. The federal government has paid the full cost of coverage for those new enrollees from the law’s beginning until this year. That will drop to 97 percent next year before permanently becoming a 90-10 cost-share in 2018.
According to the Charleston Post and Courier, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthew Burwell told reporters in a news brieifing she believes it is not a question of if, but when the states that did not pass expansion come around.
Burwell told the newspaper that the advantages of Medicaid expansion become clear as time goes by. In states that have expanded access, she said health insurance premiums have gone down on average by seven percent.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Haley said the governor is committed to making healthcare “more affordable” and giving patients “more options.”