State Republicans are pressing Democratic governor candidate Vincent Sheheen on the recently-approved federal health care law now that the first bill to South Carolina has come due.
State officials have said new requirements – such a covering pre-existing conditions of children – will cost the state health insurance plan $19.3 million this year. State Republicans said this is the first of an expected $914 million tab because the health care law requires the state to expand eligibility for Medicaid, the state-run insurance program for low income residents and the disabled.
Sheheen has said he supports portions of the bill, but had concerns about the federal government requiring the state expand coverage without paying for it.
Sheheen said yesterday that he applauded a federal judge’s decision to allow a multi-state lawsuit challenging the law’s constitutionality to go forward, but the South Carolina Republican Party said Sheheen has been “unsupportive” of the suit joined by Attorney General Henry McMaster.
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In a press release, the GOP said Sheheen was trying to hide his support of the law.
Sheheen has said he supports parts of the bill that allow parents to cover their children until age 26 and no longer allow insurance companies to cancel coverage for those who get sick. But Sheheen has said he has concerns about requiring states to expand Medicaid coverage, which will cost S.C. $914 million – an additional 4.4 percent more than what the state would have spent without the law -- by 2019. The law will add an additional 483,500 adults and children to state Medicaid rolls.
Of the additional $19.3 million cost to the state health plan this year, state officials said $10 million comes from requirements to cover children with preexisting conditions age 19 and younger and uncapping lifetime coverage benefits.