What the CBO Score Means for South Carolina

“There is a mean spirit rampant in our country that would have us punish our most vulnerable citizens for simply being poor, old, sick, or holding down well-paying jobs,” said Steve Skardon, Jr., executive director of Palmetto Project. “It suggests that if these people are starved long enough or allowed to be a bit sicker, they will magically find jobs or better jobs so that the rest of us don’t have to feel badly not caring about them,” he continued.

The Congressional Budget Office confirmed this week that the current Trump-Ryan plan to fix the nation’s health care system, will actually dismantle it. Over the next ten years, it would skim $2 trillion out of health care programs and turn them into an exceedingly generous tax cut for high-end taxpayers. More than 23 million Americans would lose access to health insurance, while millions of children would no longer have access to preventative and primary care services.

The Trump-Ryan legislation would mean that at least a half-million working adults in South Carolina would be without health coverage, while nearly a half-million South Carolina children covered by Medicaid would be subject to a “prioritizing” of health treatments available to them with significantly less money available to provide them. The costs of individual insurance plans will almost certainly go up, while those with pre-existing conditions (about half of our workforce) would be forced to buy insurance through “high-risk pools” which have already proven to be too expensive for most people who need them.

For the 823,000 South Carolinians who suffer from pre-existing conditions, plans will cost more. “Letting insurance be insurance will take us right back to pre-ACA days: cheap plans with bare minimum benefits, and premium prices that will leave the elderly and sicker people with no affordable options for health insurance at all. That’s not choice, that’s stripping away someone’s chance to improve their life,” explained Shelli Quenga, Palmetto Project’s Director of Programs.

23 million people will be uninsured, estimates the CBO. The majority of the estimated reductions in coverage come from cuts to the Medicaid program, targeting the most vulnerable people in our state. Currently, 1 in 6 births are covered by Medicaid, 3 in 5 seniors in nursing homes are covered by Medicaid, 2 in 5 children are covered by Medicaid in South Carolina. Under the AHCA, states do not get the opportunity to expand Medicaid by maintaining the higher federal funding match. “Moving to a per capita caps or block grants funding structure will be disastrous. We will have to decide if our babies or our grandparents get covered,” said Quenga.

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