Medicaid growing in SC despite plan rejection

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina refused to expand its Medicaid program as part of the federal health law.

But The State newspaper reports the health care program for the poor is growing anyway.

The Medicaid program has expanded from 850,000 people to more than 1 million people since Gov. Nikki Haley was elected in 2010. The cost has increased from $5.7 billion in 2010 to $6.4 billion this year.

Health and Human Services Department Director Tony Keck expects the costs to top the $7 billion mark in 2015.

State officials say the Medicaid program has been growing because more people are finding out there are eligible for coverage, not because there are more poor people in South Carolina.

The state Senate plans hearings on the state's Medicaid budget beginning Wednesday.

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