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DeMint Group: Just Say No To Medicaid Expansion

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Days after releasing a poll showing South Carolinians evenly split on the question of Medicaid expansion, a conservative-leaning think tank has released a new report urging policymakers to reject this “free money.”

“This allegedly good deal will only bring turmoil to the state’s budget in the future,” former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint writes in a foreword to the report. “For one thing, Medicaid expansion is not ‘catch and release’ for the states. Once such an expansion has occurred, it is politically difficult if not impossible to roll back enrollment. It becomes a permanent entitlement – and one that is completely unaffordable. If South Carolina expands Medicaid, taxpayers would be on the hook for millions. According to our research at The Heritage Foundation, the expansion would begin costing the state just four years from now and would cost $612 million over the next 10 years — outstripping any purported ‘savings.'”

DeMint is absolutely correct …

The Obamacare expansion would add approximately 545,000 new beneficiaries to the state’s already bloated Medicaid rolls over the next seven years – sixty percent of which would likely go on the taxpayer dole within the first year.

That is unsustainable growth … but then again so is the Medicaid expansion that’s occurring under “Republican” S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley. In the coming fiscal year, Haley’s administration is set to expand the state’s Medicaid rolls by more than 130,000 new beneficiaries – while incurring an additional $600 million in Medicaid funding in the coming FY 2013-14 budget.

Where’s the alarm over this expansion?

Yeah … there is none.

As of 2011, more than 1.1 million South Carolinians (roughly a quarter of the state’s population) received Medicaid benefits. Meanwhile 43 percent of the state’s children and 52 percent of its live births are covered by the program.

Seems like we should be subtracting people from those rolls during a “recovery,” not adding to them …

Anyway, to her credit Haley has pledged to veto the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, assuming it passes the S.C. General Assembly. It didn’t this year, although the budget process is still far from over.

According to the Public Policy Forum – the group which published the new report – 44 percent of South Carolinians support the expansion and 44 percent oppose it.

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