Another Shoe Drops In South Carolina

I hope all those pundits who keep confidently predicting that once all the bluster ends the states will uniformly agree to implement the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion note that South Carolina decidedly isn’t doing so. Here’s the report from The State‘s Adam Beam:

House lawmakers refused to expand Medicaid in South Carolina on Tuesday after hours of debate that echoed the conflicts of class, race and religion.

For nearly five hours on Tuesday, Democrats quoted statistics and scripture in arguing for an amendment to the state’s $22.7 billion spending plan that would make 500,000 more poor people eligible for taxpayer-funded health insurance. They even proposed an amendment that would require any lawmaker voting against the expansion to forfeit their own taxpayer-funded health insurance.

But Republicans – who control the state House of Representatives – said the plan would cost too much and questioned if it would improve the health of South Carolinians. Amendments were defeated with a series of votes along party lines.

Technically, the South Carolina Senate could keep the possibility of the expansion alive, but given Republican control of that chamber, and Gov. Nikki Haley’s pledge to veto any expansion, that ain’t happening. Haley’s message of congratulations to her House allies had a nice ironic touch:

Gov. Nikki Haley, who canceled her appointments on Tuesday to spend time with her mother who had been admitted to the hospital, issued a news release thanking House Republicans for “fighting to protect South Carolina from the looming public policy nightmare and fiscal disaster that is ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion.”

I’m glad the governor’s mom doesn’t (presumably) have to rely on Medicaid. Some others moms could use the help, at remarkably little cost to South Carolina. Too bad they won’t get it.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.