In light of the drastic healthcare overhaul legislation now being considered by Congress, Gov. Mark Sanford today urged the state's congressional delegation to oppose this dramatic and costly mandate, and instead propose alternative free market reforms that are both medically sound and financially responsible.
"While few disagree that our nation's healthcare system needs to be fundamentally reformed," Gov. Sanford said, "how we actually go about this reform is vitally important. Our decisions today will have a lasting impact not only on future generations, but also on the delicate balance between government intervention on the one side, and individual liberty and opportunity on the other. With that in mind, we have several serious concerns about the radical healthcare overhaul currently being debated in Washington D.C.
"First, this so-called reform will shift up to a fifth of the U.S. economy under government control, and I'd join many Americans in fearing the consequences of the crowding-out effect on private sector health care, innovation and service - and the inevitable tax increases that come with it, either now or later.
"Second, earlier today at our Cabinet Meeting, S.C. Department of Health and Human Services Director Emma Forkner described in startling detail how this federal takeover of health care would impose monumental costs on our state, both financially and in its ability to serve what the Bible calls "the least of these.' The U.S. House legislation alone would expand South Carolina Medicaid rolls by 543,000 people - costing taxpayers an additional $1.17 billion over the next decade and eating up almost 40 percent of the state budget in just five years, as well as effectively placing one-third of all state residents on Medicaid. This billion dollar burden would exacerbate an already brutal state budget situation as it could force legislators to either cut further into bone in the areas of education, law enforcement and economic development, or raise taxes. Neither option is palatable.
"Third, I'd point out that there exist commonsense, free market alternatives to this drastic government-centered healthcare overhaul - and these alternatives are outlined in detail in the attached op-ed.
"All that said, I'd just reiterate the central message of our letter to the congressional delegation, and ask South Carolinians to join me in urging our Senators and Representatives in Washington in two directions: one, to push back against this disastrous shift toward more government control over health care; and two, to call for market-based healthcare reforms that can improve quality of life without increasing the tax burden on this and future generations, and without lessening the freedoms that have been the hallmark of the American experiment."