Politics & Government

How the candidates for SC governor plan to improve health care

The issue of health care — and who will pay for it — is important in South Carolina, one of the nation’s poorest states and one of its unhealthiest — plagued by high levels of obesity, diabetes and a host of other ailments. As rural hospitals close and low-income South Carolinians struggle to find and afford medical care, one candidate for governor says the solution lies in taking more federal dollars. The other says that solution would cost too much and come with too many strings. Here’s a look at how Republican S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster and Democratic challenger James Smith say they will improve health care.

Henry McMaster

  • Promote the use of telemedicine

  • Loosen restrictions on nurse practitioners so they can do more to improve the health of rural South Carolinians

  • Remove anti-free-market mandates and regulations to allow for investment, expansion and innovation to lower health-care costs for S.C. families

  • Developed the “South Carolina Opioid Emergency Response Plan” to better coordinate state agencies in addressing opioid abuse. Also, signed legislation requiring expanded access to anti-overdose medication and stricter prescription limits

James Smith

  • Accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid and deliver healthcare to more than 150,000 low-income South Carolinians
  • Improve access to treatment and recovery resources, and promote non-opioid treatment options and use of overdose-reversing drugs

  • Increase the availability of telemedicine to allow for the more efficient, timely and affordable delivery of healthcare services

  • Pass legislation to provide patients access to medical cannabis as a means to treat veterans suffering from PTSD and certain debilitating medical conditions