Sometimes it is easier to leave complicated matters to others. Today, however, we are facing a matter that cannot be passed along or ignored.
I am asking you to become informed about, and help raise awareness of the need for Medicaid Expansion in South Carolina. It is a complex – yet fundamental – concern that impacts us, our families, our patients, our jobs and our state.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal healthcare reform law, allows states to significantly expand Medicaid health coverage for the poor. But when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the ACA last June, it said states couldn’t be forced to take the new Medicaid money from the federal government, thereby making it optional.
One important but not very well understood fact is that funding for the ACA will come from significant cuts in payments to hospitals from two federal sources: Medicare and Disproportionate Share (DSH) reductions. For Roper St. Francis, that means millions of dollars in reduced reimbursement. This reduction was intended to be offset by the expansion of coverage for citizens who are currently uninsured who could become eligible under the new definition of Medicaid eligibility. Those cuts will be implemented regardless of whether we expand Medicaid eligibility in South Carolina.
Many of our elected officials are now refusing the billions of dollars the state could use to insure more than 300,000 of our most vulnerable citizens through Medicaid Expansion. Now, the state’s lawmakers will debate bills about expanding Medicaid and a decision is expected sometime in this legislative session.
The South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) has created a simple video about why it is critical that South Carolinians not allow our leaders to opt out of the expansion, a move that would put South Carolina even further behind other states in economic growth and population health. You can see that video on Careline here, or on the SCHA website here.
Together with the help of our families and friends, churches and civic associates, and other concerned citizens, we can work to influence this decision, a choice that will directly impact the vitality of the our state’s healthcare workforce and its ability to serve those most in need.
Below you will find some questions and answers that may be helpful in addressing both your concerns and those of others. Feel free to share this information with your teammates and families, and be sure to look for more communications on this important issue in the days ahead.