SC Politics

DHEC restructuring: What’s the rush?

“This is too important to not get right …”

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by DIANE HARDY

I wrote on this topic a few months back, but given the unprecedented push to get a healthcare restructuring bill passed ASAP – and South Carolina senator Tom Davis recent article – my organization felt it necessary to revisit the topic.  For some reason, centralizing authority of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) under one office is being fast-tracked in our legislature big time!  Restructuring DHEC (putting six different health departments under the control of one cabinet-level secretary) will likely be taken up in a special legislative session on June 5, 2024.

This centralization may well be a good idea, but I wonder: What’s the rush? Also, given the complexity and far-reaching authority of DHEC, why can’t we take a little time to get a few important questions answered and avoid unintended consequences down the road? Also, the Mom and Pop Alliance believes if any issue should be a top priority, it should be lawsuit reform – as South Carolina’s bars and restaurants are at risk of closing due to the legislature’s failure to pass the “Justice Act” this session.

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We think the following questions are reasonable to ask. For example, what is the financial cost to implement the plan? Will this new health secretary be term-limited? Can this secretary be a former lobbyist from a pharmaceutical company? Did the legislators have time to read these unusually long bills based on a plan from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG)? Given BCG’s bias toward global centralization of healthcare, is there another consulting group we could have hired to devise a plan and address our legislature in person? Did we even try to find a consulting group without these biases who would do it for a lower cost? 

Senator Davis didn’t really address this is his article, but we would like to know: why did Palmetto State taxpayers shell out $5 million dollars to a consulting group with strong ties to the World Economic Forum (WEF)? From BCG’s own website, “BCG is partnering with WEF to improve health outcomes, equitable access, and efficiency by unleashing and scaling the potential of data and digital solutions.”

BCG has also advised the World Health Organization (WHO), and partners with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  A prior column I submitted contains more info (here). Were our legislators aware that the in-person presenter from BCG (Colleen Desmond) is from the Chicago Council for Global Affairs which has a stated goal of weaving DEI into everything it does? Finally, can we be sure that there are no unexpected consequences buried in these bills to centralize DHEC? One would think after Covid-19 it would be prudent to be sure that South Carolina’s small businesses have adequate protection from potential overreaching regulations, especially during any future “medical emergencies.” 

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RELATED | GROUP ADVISING LAWMAKERS ON RESTRUCTURING MIGHT SURPRISE YOU

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During a recent press conference, governor Henry McMaster stated that because BCG said our DHEC agencies are “fragmented,” we need to pass this bill NOW.  He also voiced his strong support for BCG.

Here are a few excerpts from his press conference …

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“We had a study by the Boston Group. I think it was a five-million-dollar study that concluded that all of these health agencies that I mentioned in South Carolina are the most unorganized, the most fractured of any in the county. That is not a good reputation to have and it’s not a good fact to know…” 

“I hope that the legislature, when they come back ….. will find a way to get that bill into a conference and solve this problem. We can’t wait another day…” 

“They’ve got to get this done… There are lives of young people, there are families, that have no place to go right now except these fractured organizations…” 

“We spent $5 million with the Boston Consulting Group. They spent a lot of time. They have a good reputation.” 

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Again, where’s the sense of urgency for South Carolina’s mom and pop venues that are having to close their doors because of our state’s insane business liability laws?

Proponents insist placing this authority under the governor is something that conservatives have wanted for decades. That may be true, but the Mom and Pop Alliance would argue that if it has waited this long, having just paid $5 million for a report from BCG does not seem like justification to rush this during a special session, under limited time constraints. Again, our organization is not opposed to the idea in general, but we believe that after what small businesses endured during Covid-19 taking time to consider unintended consequences and asking some common-sense questions seem reasonable. 

This is too important not to get it right!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Diane Hardy (Mom and Pop Alliance of S.C.)

Diane Hardy is a former nurse anesthetist turned entrepreneur, who opened a franchise at Verdae in Greenville over seven years ago. She is executive director of the Mom and Pop Alliance of SC, which she founded during Covid upon discovering South Carolina’s almost 400,000 small businesses had little representation in our State House. The Alliance provides education, communication, and advocacy for SC’s family-owned businesses. Her passion for South Carolina’s small business is strong, and as such she donates her time to the organization, accepting no salary or government funding.  Her love for our state isn’t new.  Before launching the Mom and Pop Alliance she was the founder and host of The Palmetto Panel (2014-2019), an annual statewide conference highlighting issues impacting South Carolina.  Diane has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and psychology from Michigan State as well as a master’s degree from MUSC.

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2 comments

Avatar photo
The Colonel Top fan May 30, 2024 at 3:16 pm

“What’s the rush” – that place has been a cesspit of disfunction forever – that’s the rush. Now should they “take the time to do it right? Absolutely, but let’s get moving, first step is separation of non-similar functions and elimination of duplicate functions!

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H June 13, 2024 at 9:38 pm

I AM against centralization of power and added bureaucracy, while they haven’t fixed our tyrannical public health laws. It is NOT a good idea. The governor, along with many of our legislators (especially the sponsor of this S915), have serious conflicts of interest. It seems that too often McMaster is emphasizing the $ they spent on consulting (and he is either really stupid or seriously compromised)–that if they were to scrap the bill, and they should–it would be a huge waste. Let’s be clear, it’s not $ well spent. They’ve wasted our time and $, and need to start focusing on the right things. This is the Hegelian way–start a fire, and now we all need to rush to put it out without doing real due diligence. Hey, look at the fire! Meanwhile, they are stealing more and more of our $ and freedom.

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