PALMETTO STATE TAXPAYERS CAN’T AFFORD THIS …
|| By FITSNEWS || In South Carolina, one of the quickest ways to generate sympathy and support among impressionable lawmakers on behalf of government expansions is to christen the bills in question after children. Especially children who are A) dead, or B) suffering from a disorder.
Such is the case with “Ryan’s Law,” a 2007 autism bill which mandated state insurance companies provide up to $50,000 a year of coverage for behavioral therapy for children under the age of sixteen.
This mandate was correctly vetoed by former S.C. governor Mark Sanford (back when he used to be a principled taxpayer advocate) – but Sanford’s veto was unanimously overridden by both the House and Senate.
Now, liberal State Senator Ray Cleary – one of the biggest tax-and-spenders in the S.C. General Assembly – is proposing amendments to Ryan’s Law which would usher in a major expansion of Barack Obama‘s socialized medicine law in South Carolina. And cost Palmetto State taxpayers “untold millions” of dollars.
Hell no …
Cleary’s proposal wipes out existing eligibility requirements for Ryan’s Law, opening the door to a flood of new applicants – and new costs. And yes, because this would be a “new benefit” enacted after 2011, Obamacare requires the state to defray every penny of the new mandates for those who sign up for coverage on the federal “exchanges.”
(Even though these exchanges may or may not be legal in the first place).
How big a tab are we talking about here? At least $5 million a year, according to one industry expert we spoke with – although they acknowledged this was a “conservative” estimate.
The truth is they don’t know how expensive it’s going to be … on taxpayers or South Carolina insurance customers.
“It is an unknown, open-ended, recurring obligation exposing taxpayers to untold millions in fiscal liability,” the source explained.
Again … absent any attempt to seek possible matching federal funds first.
“We’re leaving millions of federal dollars on the table,” one lobbyist familiar with the plan told FITS. “This is a new mandated benefit for policies purchased on the federal health care exchange – paid for 100 percent by the state.”
Lorri Shealy Unumb – the Ryan’s law architect who is pushing the current expansion – acknowledges there will be a cost to the state. Of course she claims the fiscal impact will be much smaller – roughly $530,000.
Where’s she pulling those numbers from? We’re not sure … but we’re guessing it’s someplace that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight.
Anyway, State Senators voted in favor of the bill last month – overwhelmingly – but they did so without a proper accounting of the cost.
Unumb, of interest, is the vice president at the Autism Academy of South Carolina – which charges between $1,800 – $4,500 a month per child to provide behavioral therapy for children between the ages of two and twenty-one. Of course those are the academy’s “private pay rates.” Insured clients pay bigger tabs (because they are “covered”), and by forcing an expansion of the insured population it will increase the percentage of clients paying the higher rates.
Medicaid recipients? Please … they don’t take those kids because the reimbursement rates are too low.
Oh, and speaking of … Unumb draws a $125,000-a-year salary from this particular entity, which is more than three times the state’s median household income last time we checked.
Look … we get it.
Kids with autism aren’t easy for a lot of parents to deal with – and finding a place for them to spend the majority of their waking hours is a costly proposition. But is that really sufficient justification for passing a multi-million dollar tab onto already overburdened South Carolina taxpayers?
We think not …