Lexington Medical Center CEO Mike Biediger made his case for South Carolina accepting Medicaid Expansion through the Affordable Care Act Tuesday at the Chamber’s March breakfast meeting.
“The main argument is the economic impact on the state of South Carolina,” Biediger told about 145 members. “We can take it and do some good, or we can leave it on the table and we still have to pay the taxes.”
While accepting the expansion does mean money for health care providers, it also translates into more jobs. Most of those jobs will support the health care industry, Biediger said. He compared it to the smaller automotive businesses that opened to serve BMW when it built its North American headquarters in the upstate.
Rejecting the expansion could harm the state’s economic future, he warned. “If North Carolina and Georgia accept it and South Carolina doesn’t, industry will see that our health care costs are higher. If we accept it, it will make South Carolina competitive.”
Biediger presented financial figures that showed LMC would lose close to $80 million in Medicare reimbursement and Medicaid and Medicare Disproportionate Share Funds from 2014 through 2020, regardless of whether the state accepts the expansion. If South Carolina accepts the expansion, LMC could see $176 million from 2014 through 2020. As well, 300,000-400,000 more South Carolinians would have health coverage. And, an estimated 44,000 jobs would be created, according to a study from the University of South Carolina. Most of the state’s uninsured aren’t lazy stereotypes, but people working two low-income jobs, neither of which provide health insurance, Biediger pointed out.
“Obamacare is the law of the land,” he said, and likened accepting federal funds for medical care to accepting federal funds to repair roads and bridges. “We would accept that money.”