Op Ed: Rep. Stephen Goldfinch: State House Report

  • Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ben Franklin said: "Promises may fit the friends, but non-performance will turn them to enemies."

President Obama made billions of dollars in promises during his State of the Union speech. It brings me back to one huge federal promise that's stuck directly on the backs of the taxpayers in our state – the “Affordable Health Care Act,” more commonly known as Obamacare.

South Carolina’s Democrats make the same promises. It’s been more than a month since they promised to put 40 percent of our state on some form of government health care. They promised hundreds of millions in new education spending. They want billions in new spending on roads.

Like the President, our state’s Democratic Party leadership has no ideas about how to pay for any of their promises. But since they are a small and shrinking minority in the state House, they have the luxury of not having to make tough decisions.

A new health care proposal in the House highlights the basic difference in philosophy between our two parties.

In our Republican Caucus meeting last week, House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White and Health Care Budget Subcommittee Chairman Murrell Smith presented the innovative plan.

This real solution opts out of the massive Obamacare Medicaid expansion, and instead invests in measures to create accountability and better health outcomes for our state’s Medicaid system.

The proposed plan focuses on five main areas:

n Holding health care providers accountable for providing the best care at the lowest cost;

n Investing our limited taxpayer resources where they are needed most – our rural areas and the areas of our state with a very high density for disease and illness;

n Strengthening primary care by directing resources to these basic providers;

n Providing inventive payments to providers for implementing innovative ways to treat illness while simultaneously driving out excess cost; and

n Exploring ways to replace our outdated care model with a more efficient and effective method.

Chairman White said last week that we have two options: taking the easy road of more government money and dependency outlined by the Washington Democrats or creating South Carolina’s own solutions to reforming Medicaid. He also thanked Gov. Haley for helping with the proposals.

Our reform plan does not require any additional state resources. The Democrat’s plan of just expanding the Medicaid system does nothing to work on improving outcomes. It is only focused on spending more taxpayer money, which would result in nearly 2 in 5 South Carolinians being on some sort of government health care by 2020.

Taxpayers in our state spend nearly $6.5 billion each year on Medicaid. What we have to show for it is a state that ranks 46th nationally in overall health, 49th in diabetes, and 42nd in obesity – with more than a third of our state listed as obese.

There is no doubt that our health care system has major flaws. As the federal government insists on throwing billions more into an already inefficient system, it destroys any possible market forces that may be left to hold down costs. Our plan works to reform and stabilize the system instead of driving hundreds of thousands more South Carolinians on to government health care rolls.

My Republican colleagues are anxious to review the plan in detail as we work on the budget in the coming weeks.

It's an honor to serve you and your family in the General Assembly. If you ever find yourself in need of assistance navigating state government or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with my colleagues in the House, don’t hesitate to contact me at (843) 385-4302.

Rep. Stephen Goldfinch lives in Murrells Inlet and serves portions of Georgetown and Charleston counties in the South Carolina General Assembly.

Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.

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