Chamber of Commerce supports Medicaid expansion

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday it will support the "responsible expansion" of Medicaid in South Carolina.

According to a release from the Chamber, the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will expand Medicaid eligibility beginning in 2014. The ACA stipulates that state opting for the expansion will receive federal funding to pay for 100-percent of the costs for those who newly qualify from 2014 to 2016.

After that, states will receive a match of 95-percent in 2017 with the match dropping to 90-percent in 2020 with states paying the remaining 10-percent.

The Chamber says their position to support the Medicaid expansion is consistent with principals to reduce healthcare costs for businesses and support legislation that will attract and expand business in Charleston.

States that do not accept the Medicaid expansion federal dollars will face cuts in federal reimbursement. In Charleston, medical facilities would be negatively impacted by hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.

"There are two options. South Carolina can accept the Medicaid expansion and receive 90 percent of costs from the federal government or reject the plan and absorb 100 percent of the costs and lose revenue from Washington, D.C," said Bryan Derreberry, Chamber president and CEO. When we looked at the cost benefit of accepting versus rejecting these federal dollars and the added benefit of providing thousands of South Carolinians with better healthcare, our Board of Directors unanimously made the decision to support expansion."

According to the University of South Carolina Economic Impact study, the total amount the state would receive in federal funding from 2014 to 2020 if South Carolina decides to expand Medicaid is $11.7 billion. This money will positively impact 44,000 jobs.

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