In response to a number of media queries about Rep. Clyburn's comments today regarding Gov. Sanford's position on federal health care legislation, the Governor had the following to say:
"Though I want to stay true to the Christmas spirit, and indeed wish Jim and his family a most happy Holiday Season, I must say that for anyone to suggest that a nearly trillion dollar government takeover of health care that moves a sixth of the U.S. economy under bureaucrats' control will somehow result in substantive cost savings for the taxpayer borders on the ridiculous. We continue to believe that this radical departure from our nation's free market foundations will be a mistake financially and medically * and I'd once again urge the good representative and the entire congressional delegation to push for serious changes or to scrap the bill altogether.
"As Rep. Clyburn knows, the U.S. House health care legislation as written would expand South Carolina Medicaid rolls by 543,000 people * costing our state's taxpayers an additional $1.17 billion annually in 10 years and eating up almost 40 percent of the state budget in just five years. It would also effectively place almost one-third of the state's residents on Medicaid. Though well intended in its attempt to offer a solution to a serious issue, it is fundamentally flawed in the same way the stimulus efforts were in that the states and the taxpayers are left footing the bill.
"While again we can certainly understand the good intentions of some to try and expand the federal government's efforts during these challenging times, our overriding concern is that for South Carolina, this billion dollar burden will exacerbate an already brutal state budget situation. It would force state legislators to either cut further into bone in the areas of education, law enforcement and economic development, or raise taxes. We don't think either option is acceptable, and for this reason we'd respectfully ask Rep. Clyburn and other proponents to reconsider this proposal."
- Gov. Mark Sanford