Critics: Impact of Medicaid cuts would hurt South Carolina

The State, February 28, 2011

To close a $700 million deficit, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and her Health and Human Services director, Tony Keck, have proposed cutting $125 million from the state's payments to healthcare providers who treat the poor and disabled in the budget year that starts July 1. Those cuts, healthcare providers say, will cost thousands of S.C. workers their jobs. South Carolina's biggest state budget issue, both short- and long-term, is the growth in Medicaid, which pays to treat the poor. That care costs lots—$4.3 billion in 2010, up $2 billion from 2001, when you add in federal matching money—and the state is poor, meaning there are many to care for. But state revenues— stripped by years of tax cuts and recession— are down. Making things worse, any money not cut from healthcare would require cuts to other fundamental services, such as schools, police or prisons.

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