Gov. Henry McMaster has put political gain ahead of the health of South Carolinians.
With one simple act, McMaster put the health of women, men and families at risk by denying them health care.
His veto of funds for family planning means South Carolina will lose millions of dollars that have been available through Medicaid. Low-income women and men who rely upon Medicaid to pay their health-care providers will no longer have access to birth control pills, treatment for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, pap tests and breast exams.
Beginning immediately, a rural clinic that provides an array of health services will no longer receive Medicaid payments for patients seeking family planning services. Medicaid patients are left with no options other than to not seek care.
The two Planned Parenthood health centers in South Carolina received $83,000 in Medicaid payments last year, which paid for pap smears, mammograms, vasectomies and other birth control and other health services. Not one cent of state or federal funding went to pay for or reimburse Planned Parenthood for abortions.
However, when Gov. McMaster denies funds to one provider, by law he denies funds to all providers.
His campaign promise to “defund Planned Parenthood” will result in the state’s loss of approximately $14 million, and tens of thousands Medicaid patients will be denied the health care they need.
As former Gov. Nikki Haley’s Medicaid Director Tony Keck said: “Access to birth control for men and women reduces unwanted pregnancies. Reducing access to birth control will increase unwanted pregnancies and increase abortions. You can’t have it both ways.”
The governor’s action has already taken effect; many South Carolinians will go to their doctors this week only to find that services they seek are no longer covered.
To protect the health and welfare of their constituents, our legislative leaders must immediately call the General Assembly back into session to override the governor’s veto.
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