South Carolina is the latest in a small group of states that are rejecting federal funding to enact requirements outlined in the health care reform law. Governor Nikki Haley indicated at the end of last week that her state will not apply for funds to set up a health insurance exchange in the state saying that the state can’t afford it.
The announcement comes on the heels of a similar one from Kansas Governor Sam Brownback who said last week that Kansas will not set up a health insurance exchange. According to Haley, even with the aid of federal grants, South Carolina can’t afford and doesn’t want a health insurance exchange. Her decision is supported by the head of the state’s Department of Health and Human Services Tony Heck who feels that a health insurance exchange isn’t right for citizens of South Carolina.
Health insurance exchanges are required for every state under federal health care reform legislation. So far, states that are opposed to such exchanges have cited their cost and questions of constitutionality when refusing to set one up. States that do not comply with the requirement will have an exchange administered for them by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The Governor has called federal health care reform a “spending disaster,” and has rejected any plans to move forward on fulfilling the requirements of the law. Just over twenty percent of citizens in South Carolina under the age of 65 are uninsured.
So far, 16 states are moving forward on health insurance exchanges with the aid federal grant money.