Two More Republican Healthcare Hits
by Bob Gatty.
In Washington and in Columbia, Republican healthcare hits keep coming and many Horry County residents stand to feel the pain. In both instances, it’s President Trump’s disdain for people who need a helping hand that is to blame.
While Gov. McMaster and Republicans who control the State House have refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, McMaster has announced that he will try to impose new work requirements on those who do receive Medicaid. That follows establishment of new procedures by the Trump administration for states that want to impose such requirements.
An estimated 180,000 adults in South Carolina would be affected by this Republican healthcare hit. Children, people with disabilities and the elderly make up most of the 1.3 million South Carolinians covered by Medicaid. Others exempt from the proposed rules include single parents, two-parent households where one parent is disabled, and people in a drug-abuse treatment program.
The rules would be similar to what South Carolina requires for poor people to stay on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, commonly referred to as food stamps.
There is no doubt that this proposal is politically driven as a way to satisfy Trump’s base of supporters and to bolster McMaster’s bid for the Republican nomination for governor as he is in a difficult primary.
Since the state must hold public hearings and take public comment before it can even submit its proposal to the federal government, the rules likely will not be implemented until at least July 2019.
The Second Republican Healthcare Hit
Meanwhile, the Trump White House has sent to Congress a request to make massive cuts in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as part of its effort to reduce federal spending — this after the billions spent to cut taxes for big business and wealthy individuals (with a pittance for the rest of us).
The request includes a $7 billion cut to CHIP, part of $15 billion in overall cuts. Some $2 billion would come from a contingency fund that was created to prevent states from running out of money, with the rest coming from money Congress authorized but states haven’t spent.
The administration defended the cuts, explaining that the money would come from untapped leftover funds and wouldn’t affect operations at CHIP or in other health care areas. As of June 2016, there were 981,456 South Carolina residents who were covered by Medicaid and CHIP.
While it’s considered unlikely Congress will pass these cuts in the midterm election year, Trump’s move clearly demonstrates that his priorities are to add to the good life for those who have at the expense of those who do not.
CHIP covers about 9 million children whose parents usually earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private health coverage — typically no more than $62,000 for a family of four. The 20-year-old program is paid for almost entirely by the federal government.
Once again, the action demonstrates the priorities of Trump and his supporters. They had no problem ballooning the federal deficit with their new tax plan, but now they try to close the gap by zapping needy kids and their parents.
Once again, it’s a matter of priorities that have been made abundantly clear, repeatedly, by Trump and the Republicans who support him.