Robert Ariail

Work requirements for SC Medicaid coverage won’t decrease health care costs

The number of children in South Carolina who were uninsured increased by 10,000 from 2016 to 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and Georgetown University, resulting in 5.1 percent of South Carolina’s children now lacking health insurance.
The number of children in South Carolina who were uninsured increased by 10,000 from 2016 to 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and Georgetown University, resulting in 5.1 percent of South Carolina’s children now lacking health insurance. TNS file photo

As a pediatrician in Columbia, I read with concern the article “Many SC parents could lose coverage in Medicaid plan,” on January 6, 2019. The article discusses the proposed work requirements for Medicaid coverage in S.C. and states that “between 5,000 and 14,000 parents would lose their Medicaid coverage in the first year such a policy is in force.” We know that children are more likely to lose their insurance if their parents have lost their own health insurance coverage. We also know that the number of children in South Carolina who were uninsured increased by 10,000 from 2016 to 2017 (according to the U.S. Census Bureau and Georgetown University), resulting in 5.1 percent of South Carolina’s children now lacking health insurance. We cannot afford for this number to increase further.

A decrease in the number of people covered by Medicaid will not result in overall health care savings. These people will still get sick. But they will not have a primary physician so they will wait until they become sicker and will then seek care in an emergency room. This will result in a dramatic increase in unreimbursed emergency room visits and unreimbursed hospital admissions. The hospitals will not be able to absorb the costs of this unreimbursed care, resulting in more hospitals closing. This phenomenon has already occurred in many parts of South Carolina, resulting in a decrease in access to emergency and hospital care in many areas.

The initiation of work requirements for Medicaid coverage in Arkansas has not resulted in an increase in the number of working adults. It has very definitely resulted in an increase in the number of uninsured families. There is no reason to expect that the result would be any different in South Carolina.

As a pediatrician, I see the positive impact that Medicaid coverage has on my patients every day. Medicaid allows my patients to receive well child care, immunizations and services for children with special needs. These children receive prompt care for illnesses so that they don’t end up in the emergency room or in the hospital unnecessarily. The American Academy of Pediatrics, along with other major medical groups, has taken a strong position against work requirements for Medicaid coverage. Implementing work requirements for Medicaid coverage in South Carolina will not decrease health care costs. I truly hope that South Carolina residents speak out strongly against this proposal during the public comments period ending January 22. Comments can be submitted at https://msp.scdhhs.gov/cew/site-page/public-comment.

Deborah Greenhouse

Columbia

Medical marijuana one of few options for chronic pain sufferers

In response to the article on medical marijuana by Dr. Ropp, president of the South Carolina Medical Association, while you are spending five years playing with pain relief, those of us with chronic pain are losing the few methods of relief we have by doctors being forced to lower the doses of pain medicine they can prescribe.

You are forcing us to choose between chronic, life-stopping pain and an illegal substance since the pain doctors are now all scared to prescribe what their patients need. First do no harm is a lie. You are harming us and the evidence is the increase of suicides in chronic pain patients who have lost the medicine they need.

You have no compassion and no idea what we go through. Live in my body for just one day, and then see how you feel about your testing which has been done in state after state already and proved helpful to pain patients. I’m glad you aren’t my doctor because you have lost sight of what a doctor does. First do no harm.

Elizabeth Lankford

Pelion

South Carolinians need to pressure elected officials on medical marijuana

Medical marijuana. Forget about it.

Our governor says he will leave the issue up to law enforcement. Aren’t we all delighted that all the doctors and scientists working for SLED are going to decide about this alternative health care.

A recent news report said that almost three fourths of our residents were in favor of this. However, most of our elected lawmakers will not approach this issue. These folks down at Main and Gervais see the same news reports that we do. So it’s not like they don’t know what we want. All they want is to get re-elected.

Our attorney general does not approve of medical marijuana when I asked him about it on election day. These people are there to represent all of us. It’s time for them to do they’re job. Call as many as you can put the pressure on them to stop voting as so to pursue they’re own agenda. It’s time we stand together and move this state forward.

James Peebles

Chapin

The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.

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