Members of the increasingly left-leaning “Republican” General Assembly in South Carolina received some rare positive marks from a conservative advocacy organization this week.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) – one of the nation’s most prominent conservative advocacy organizations – released its annual scorecard for members of the S.C. House of Representatives and the State Senate on Tuesday morning. Surprisingly, both chambers fared exceedingly well on these rankings – with the repeal of the state’s onerous ‘Certificate of Need‘ health care mandate looming large in the scorecards.
“The 2023 South Carolina legislative session was a big win for South Carolinians,” AFP state director Candace Carroll said. “We were successful in our efforts to repeal Certificate of Need (CON) regulations as well as prohibit the state from denying occupational licenses based on prior criminal conviction. There is alway more work to be done to advance freedom and opportunity. We look forward to building on our success of this legislative session next year for all South Carolinians.”
Administered by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), Certificate of Need was a restrictive “regulatory regime” which forced hospitals to seek state approval if they wished to build new facilities, open new practices or purchase certain types of new equipment. Competitors used this superfluous layer of bureaucratic red tape to stifle competition within the marketplace – resulting in fewer options and higher costs for patients and consumers.
According to AFP, these mandates imposed “bureaucratic hurdles that required healthcare providers to prove to a government board that building new facilities or expanding existing facilities met their community’s healthcare needs.”
No longer …
“Hospitals and other health care facilities can now deliver services such as emergency care without going through a burdensome CON process,” the group noted in its scorecard.
“The free market is the most effective tool government can bring to bear to address most public policy challenges,” Climer said. “From health care to education to energy, more competition and consumer choice will lower costs and improve outcomes. I’m grateful for AFP’s partnership in our work to unshackle South Carolina’s economy from excessive government interference.”
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Climer received a 113 percent ranking from AFP – the best in either chamber. Not far behind him was another consistent free market champion, state senator Tom Davis of Beaufort, S.C. Davis received a 106 percent ranking on AFP’s scorecards.
AFP touted several other pieces of legislation – including a bill which removed occupational license restrictions on applicants who have a criminal record. This will open numerous employment opportunities for “those who return to society after incarceration.”
Another piece of legislation touted by the group ensured that managers of the Palmetto State’s $39.6 billion pension fund “only consider pecuniary factors when executing their investment strategy on behalf of their clients.” That’s a reference to doing away with leftist “ESG investing,” in which investment strategy is dictated by political ideologies as opposed to rates of return.
Legislative leaders were pleased with the rankings … and their purported progress.
“I could not be more proud of the many conservative policies passed by the South Carolina House this year,” S.C. House speaker Murrell Smith said. “In particular, repealing Certificate of Need and reforming licensure for work were landmark legislative accomplishments that limited government involvement in the private sector and cut red tape in significant ways. I applaud AFP for recognizing these conservative wins and for being a partner in these wins, knowing there are many more to come in the years ahead.”
Given lawmakers’ chronic profligate spending, refusal to pass meaningful tax relief (or parental choice) and failure to reform its corrupt judiciary, I would hesitate to refer to the 2023 legislative session as anything resembling a “success.” However, these bills are small wins for citizens and taxpayers and certainly deserve recognition. And certainly Climer and Davis deserve tremendous credit for their ongoing work in shifting the default setting of the legislature away from relying on outdated bureaucracies and more toward relying on market-based solutions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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