“Columbia, We Have A Problem”

MEDICAID DEFICIT THREATENS TO THROW STATE BUDGET OUT OF BALANCE “Never again,” S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley vowed last year when her health care agency came before a state budget panel begging for a $100 million bailout (the agency’s total bailout tab wound up being north of $225 million when it…


“Never again,” S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley vowed last year when her health care agency came before a state budget panel begging for a $100 million bailout (the agency’s total bailout tab wound up being north of $225 million when it was all said and done).

Yet only a year later, Haley’s Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) is headed down the same fiscally unsustainable path.  According to a preliminary budget request released earlier this week, SCDHHS is requesting an additional $200 million for the coming fiscal  year to cover our state’s soaring Medicaid tab.

The only problem? After blowing more than $3 billion in new money over the last two years, as of this writing the state’s projected surplus for the coming fiscal year is estimated at $150-$180 million.  In other words accommodating Haley’s Medicaid request would create an unconstitutional deficit.

And while SCDHHS was clear to refer to its request as “preliminary,” the truth is that things are likely to get worse before they get better.  For starters, the state’s socialized medicine tab is set to soar even further thanks to Haley’s eligibility expansion agenda.  Also, S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell (RINO-Charleston) is currently working behind the scenes to see that enough “Republicans” join with Democrats to support the massive Medicaid expansion associated with “Obamacare.”

Gotta love “GOP rule,” right?

Both of these policy moves will further inflate our state’s Medicaid bubble … forcing taxpayers to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars more.

S.C. Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) says that state policymakers erred in permitting the federal government to dictate eligibility with “free money” from Washington, D.C.

“The primary cost-driver is the size of the Medicaid population,” Davis explains.  “That ‘s why Mark Sanford to his credit refused to accept Obama’s ‘stimulus’ money for healthcare in 2009.  He believed the cost of the attached strings – ceding control of our state’s Medicaid population to the federal government – was simply too high.  Ultimately, the state legislature forced him to accept the money and, as he predicted, we are now paying the price.

“That’s what happens when lawmakers sell out our sovereignty,” Davis added. “Happens all the time.”

Frankly it’s sad that we are still adding people to our Medicaid rolls three years after an economic “recovery” began.

More than 1.1 million South Carolinians – or nearly a quarter of our state’s population – received Medicaid services last year.  How on earth is that number still going up?  Also last time we checked, a whopping 43 percent of South Carolina children were on Medicaid while 52 percent of all live births in the state were covered by the taxpayers.

If we’re creating jobs at the clip Haley says we are, how on earth are those numbers still going up?

It makes no sense … but then again this is South Carolina, where pretty much everything is counter-intuitive (and everyone in public office is a hypocrite). After all why else would our “conservative” legislature and “Tea Party” governor be so intent on expanding dependency as opposed to expanding prosperity?

We can’t answer that question … except to say that whatever the answer is, it’s about to come out of your wallet.

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insider October 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm

And this is why they offer off-shore accounts! Turks and Caicos, anyone?

Smirks October 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm

It’s pretty funny that Haley supports a block grant for Medicaid given that she keeps having to beg the feds for more money. “Never again… Well, maybe once again, but not next time! …OK, next time, but definitely not the time after!”

its time October 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm

why havent any of those millionaire “job creators” who have received the lions share of the billions in tax cuts and rebates the last few years been held accountable??

the fault lies clearly in the laps of those you have told us are creating good paying jobs as a result of the billions in tax cuts we have been scammed into giving them. I guess they, in fact are not creating jobs. So lets get all that money back first.

Without the lies about how the money given in tax breaks and rebates would turn into growth, prosperity and great jobs we would have more than enough money to pay these bills.

Smirks October 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm

The real funny part is that we have to entertain “tax rebate” ideas when it is clear we are having budget shortfalls in other sections of the government. Sure cut this program, refund a few mil back to the taxpayers (although Willie won’t tell us which taxpayers would make bank on that deal). I imagine Uncle Sam wouldn’t be too happy if we were begging him for more dough while we were giving money back via some rebate.

Considering how much SC relies on federal tax monies, I wonder if Uncle Sam should get some of that rebate…

Smirks October 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm

More than 1.1 million South Carolinians – or nearly a quarter of our state’s population – received Medicaid services last year. How on earth is that number still going up?

Easy. Since 2002, state unemployment has been higher than that of national unemployment. See here. Not to mention that our annual per-capita income was $33,884 as of 2010, which was ranked 45th in the nation.

High unemployment and shit pay means a bunch of people who can’t afford health care without government assistance.

(I forget if hyperlinks work or not here, hopefully they do, because that URL length is a doozie.)

tomstickler October 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Maybe the economy would have recovered faster if DeMint and Graham were not dancing to Mitch McConnell’s tune.

And isn’t Ryan’s plan for Medicaid block grants? If that were to happen, there would be no federal bailout.

Crooner October 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

So, if you reduce the Medicaid population those who were previously on it now no longer get sick? They magically have money to pay for their own health care?

Or are you just chanting the GOP chant from the debates? (Let them die…)

Of course, you know that hospitals don’t do that, instead treating indigents in the ER, the most expensive possible setting, and passing the cost to those of us with insurance.

Why can’t you fucktards just be proud of your country, and what it can do for its people?

BradWarthenSucks October 25, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Cut of Medicaid for those under 65 and problem solved. Way, way, way too many able bodied people looking for free medical care.

porchsitter October 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm

You DO comprehend, don’t you, that there are 100K disabled people under 65 in SC? These are people who are mentally disabled, physically disabled to the point of total dependency, people who are quadriplegic.

Add to that the two-thirds of all births in this state and nearly half of the 900,000 children covered by Medicaid.

Which of these are, under the most cynical definition, would you call able bodied?

Now, try to understand that 99.99999% of these people would require free medical care AND that the feds are paying 80% of what otherwise the SC homeowners would wind up paying 100%.

If you want to have fun, sharpen your budget axes on the administrative costs of DHHS, including a bloated PR staff and free parking for the bureaucrats in the attached garage at 1700 Main. Find out how many are pulling in excess of $80K a year, and ask for their qualifications. You’ll find legislators’ kin, you’ll find a lot of people with marginal competence and shakey attendance. You will also see a revolving door to Blue Cross Blue shield.

Smirks October 25, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Here’s some charts.

Medicaid Enrollment by Basis of Eligibility:

Medicaid Enrollment by Age Group

~2/3 of Medicaid enrollment involves children and the elderly. ~3/4 of Medicaid enrollment involves the blind, aged, or child category. Unfortunately, I have no clue how much of that ~1/4 left may have some other form of disability.

Now, these graphs only go up to 2007, so these demographics could have changed, but until the economy has fully recovered, that isn’t likely to change.

BradWarthenSucks October 25, 2012 at 5:27 pm

porchsitter – Many of those 100K “disabled” citizens aren’t incapable of doing anything besides sitting on the porch drinking 40 ounce beers and smoking dope.

Why are 2/3 of all births covered by medicaid? Is it because 70%+ of black babies are born to single mothers who can’t keep their legs together? Or the fact that a black man isn’t a father, but merely a “baby daddy” who won’t support his children, born or unborn? There’s a time where you say “enough”.

insider October 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Raj Mantena?

noway! October 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm

One of the fastest ways to handle some of this shortfall = elimination of the disproprotionate share payouts to large hospitals. This should be reserved for rural access hospitals only and not large centers that do not really need it.

No way! October 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Yes that is the answer

porchsitter October 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Won’t make a ripple. DISH is financed at state level by hospital taxes. Hospitals put up the 20% state match and receive 80% federal matching funds to compensate them for indigent care. Before this came along, county governments taxed taxpayers’ houses to provide 100% of the cost of indigent care. Sanfraud has just about killed DISH, and when it goes away hospitals will withdraw their taxes.

hhuuhh?? October 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm

“If we’re creating jobs at the clip Haley says we are, how on earth are those numbers still going up?”

As our state and local development boards and politicians are letting visions of campaign contributions dance in their heads, they are forgetting to ask: “You got benefits with them jobs?”

lynn breazeale October 26, 2012 at 11:08 am

Let’s just lay all of this crap right where it belongs. At the feet of the Harrells and McConnells of this state. We’re a Legislatively controlled state therefore our illustrious leaders are to blame for all our ills. With these morons in charge trust me, It will only get worse. I frankly don’t understand why everything bad that happens is my responsibility to pay for. It should be up to families and individuals to take care of their own, somehow it’s morphed into the taxpayers burden to bear.

mmis October 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Someone explain to me why the SCDHHS CIO’s salary is not published in the state salary database? Surely he’s not working for free.

Bob Evans October 26, 2012 at 6:39 pm

It’s probably outsourced

Medicaid is useful in the right habnds October 26, 2012 at 8:21 pm

There are some people who only need Medicaid for a short period of time, to get them through a rough spot…And I believe that was the intention of this program.


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