After authorizing their creation and accepting federal funds to plan for their establishment, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley now says she will refuse federal tax dollars earmarked for the implementation of U.S. President Barack Obama’s controversial “health care exchanges.”
At least she’s refusing the money for the time being … Haley’s administration made it clear that the door is open for another flip in the future.
Mandated by Obama’s socialized medicine law, the exchanges are designed to replicated the failed Massachusetts health care model – which in addition to being an unmitigated disaster costs Bay State taxpayers $29 million a year to operate.
The announcement was made by S.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) director Tony Keck – whose agency received a pair of $100 million bailouts from state taxpayers earlier this year after running a deficit.
Keck’s decision – which he indicated could be revisited in the future- was first reported by Gina Smith of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper.
“If (South Carolina) decides later that it makes sense for the state to run it, then we’ll run it,” Keck told Smith.
Back in March, Haley signed an executive order creating the “South Carolina Health Care Exchange Planning Committee,” an entity that is funded with Obamacare dollars. In fact, South Carolina has already received millions of dollars in Obamacare funding – much of it going to Haley’s cabinet agencies.
Obviously that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way seeing as Haley has repeatedly blasted Obamcare – and benefited from TV ads during her 2010 campaign that blasted her opponent for his ostensible support of the new socialized medicine law.
Haley isn’t the first South Carolina elected official to face heat for her evolving position on Obamacare exchanges.
Earlier this year, legislation to establish the exchanges was sailing through the S.C. House of Representatives (with numerous Republican sponsors) until the South Carolina Tea Party caught wind of it and threatened to vote out GOP lawmakers who supported it.
Thirteen “Republicans” – Reps. Rita Allison, Liston Barfield, Doug Brannon, Danny Cooper, Nelson Hardwick, Bill Herbkersman, Jenny Horne, Chip Huggins, Jay Lucas, Dwight Loftis, Phil Owens, Steve Parker, Mike Pitts – were originally signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.
Not surprisingly, most of these “Republicans” ran for the hills as soon as their support for the legislation became public knowledge.
Incidentally, Haley’s rejection of this particular pot of Obamacare money comes just two weeks after she begged for (and received) a $52 million bailout of the state’s cash-strapped department of transportation. That request came just six weeks after Haley signed off on the largest budget in state history.
Guess she’s back to hating on Washington this week …
We oppose the implementation of these exchanges (in fact we’ve done so consistently). Why? Because we believe they would result in tens of millions of dollars in new administrative costs for state government while doing absolutely nothing to lower health care costs.