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Massive SC Government Health Insurance Expansion

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NO COST? PLEASE …

One of our letter writers warned about this a month ago … but South Carolina lawmakers didn’t listen.  We’re referring to the passage of S.C. Senate Bill 61 – a massive expansion of state government’s health and dental insurance program.

Under the law, sponsored by S.C. Senator Brad Hutto, dozens of “quasi-governmental” local entities, lobbying groups and political organizations are now entitled to receive health and dental coverage from the state.

What prompted the change?

According to reporter Cassie Cope of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper, “the change is intended to free lawmakers from having to introduce legislation every time a group asks to join the health care plan.”

In other words, lawmakers are lazy … and don’t want each group seeking admission to the plan to face public scrutiny.

State economists say this massive expansion carries no cost with it, but as our letter writer pointed out that “does not ensure that the existing plan members will not end up sharing some of the health plan cost, or that rising costs will not cause a further deterioration of the plan … meaning lower service levels, higher deductibles and higher heath insurance premiums.”

“This is clearly a bill that has far-reaching fiscal impacts for taxpayers,” our letter writer concluded.  “As such it deserves a detailed fiscal impact study as well as extended public debate over whether these expanded benefits are worth the costs.  Otherwise I suspect we will have yet another financial disaster on our hands.”

Did Hutto’s bill receive such study or debate?  No, it did not.

State lawmakers have put the screws to taxpayers in any number of ways this year – blowing more than $1 billion in new revenue, passing an $826 million annual tax hike (to bail out the state’s woefully mismanaged pension fund) and of course raising the gas tax in the most constitutionally dubious and fiscally reckless manner imaginable.

We predict this hush-hush expansion of the state health care plan – which the mainstream media didn’t bother to cover until after it had passed – will wind up being yet another costly move.

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