HOUSE SPEAKER RECOILS FROM “OBAMACARE” ALLEGATION
S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell (RINO-Charleston) is absolutely, positively, under no circumstances supporting the expansion of South Carolina’s Medicaid program to accomodate Obamacare …
… or so say a host of insiders who contacted us in response to this story, which alleged that Harrell and S.C. House Ways and Means chairman Brian White are working behind the scenes with a group of 15-20 “Republicans” in the S.C. House of Representatives to see that the Obamacare expansion is included in the upcoming state budget.
So who contacted us to voice their disapproval of our post? Several state lawmakers, political consultants, lobbyists for the health care industry and a communications advisor to Harrell. Their unified message? That our story was 100 percent full of sh*t. Of course it has been our experience that such an instantaneous, coordinated barrage of responses indicates that a story was a little too “on target” for some people’s comfort.
In fact not long after our story ran (and the “full of sh*t” cries began making their way back to our ears) Harrell held an emergency meeting with hospital industry leaders in which he is said to have demanded “cover and protection from them in the form of a huge marketing campaign” associated with the expansion.
The goal of this “marketing” campaign? To “convince the people of South Carolina (Medicaid expansion) is something they need.”
In fact we’re informed that particulars of this “marketing” campaign were discussed by the participants at Harrell’s meeting.
In addition to being an unapologetic fiscal liberal, Harrell also owns a drug company that does business with the state – a company that would likely benefit from the Medicaid expansion.
While a disaster on almost every other from, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of Obamacare earlier this year did give states the ability to opt-out of its onerous Medicaid expansion. Specifically, the court ruled that states do not have to expand their Medicaid rolls in conjunction with the new law if they don’t want to – which would enable them to block half of the new entitlement spending associated with the law.
South Carolina’s Medicaid population is soaring – one reason why S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley requested two $100 million bailouts last year (here and here) for her Medicaid agency. To her credit, Haley has come out in opposition to the Medicaid expansion – one of the few times she’s taken a stand against government growth since she took office in 2011.