Medicaid expansion petition

Twenty residents of Oconee and Pickens counties delivered a signed “Medicaid Expansion” petition last week to State Senator Thomas Alexander. The petition contained more than 3,500 signatures. Alexander, the Oconee-Pickens senator from District One, met with the group Thursday in Walhalla for a discussion of the state legislature’s resistance to expand the program for those unable to buy regular insurance. “This program would bring $11.2 billion of our tax dollars back into the state, create 44,000 new jobs, keep our hospitals from cutting services, and provide insurance to about 250,000 working people in South Carolina,” said spokesperson Rosellen Aleguire. But Alexander said with Governor Haley’s opposition to the program, political realities make it impossible to expand Medicaid as provided in the Affordable Care Act. The votes are not in either legislative chamber to overturn the governor’s veto. According to the group, Alexander expressed willingness to seek other ways to meet the most urgent health needs of people who do not have medical insurance and to find ways to support hospitals so that they can continue to treat everyone.