Proposed Medicaid work requirements would cause real harm for vulnerable, low-income South Carolina parents.
South Carolina’s Medicaid agency is pursuing a rule change, creating work requirements for those on Medicaid. The rule would force low-income South Carolina parents with Medicaid coverage to prove they have a job or risk losing their health benefits.
These work requirements create expensive and unnecessary red tape. The state is in no position to enforce these requirements, lacking any monitoring infrastructure. Meanwhile, this rule would disproportionately harm poor parents in rural areas trying to access the benefits they desperately need to get by. In states like Arkansas that have enacted similar rules, many people have lost coverage simply because they couldn’t navigate the new red tape. The same will likely happen in South Carolina.
The main barriers for these people, cost of child care and transportation, make it exceedingly difficult for them to take low wage work. Work requirements fail to address these realities, instead making it more likely that the rural poor lose coverage. The children of these parents will also suffer; it’s a well documented fact that when parents do not have healthcare coverage their children are less likely to receive the healthcare they need. The number of uninsured children in South Carolina has increased over the last two years and these requirements will only make that unfortunate reality worse.
This rule is not the right policy to fight poverty, increase health insurance coverage, combat unemployment or fix the healthcare system in South Carolina. Instead, it will waste taxpayer money with unnecessary administrative costs, take away the healthcare of thousands, and cause unnecessary harm that will reverberate across different communities, generational groups and incomes.
We oppose this proposal, and we strongly urge Governor McMaster and the SC Medicaid Agency to drop this misguided effort. The facts are simple: families in South Carolina will be harmed if this waiver is approved, and lives are literally at stake.
You can help protect vulnerable South Carolinians by submitting a public comment opposing this harmful proposal.
Suggested talking points for your comments:
- This proposal creates bureaucratic barriers and “red tape” for families to prove that they are meeting the new guidelines.
- Administration of the requirements would be very costly for the state as it currently has no infrastructure to monitor or enforce such requirements.
- Two key barriers—cost of child care and transportation—often make it impossible for parents to take low wage work, especially in rural areas.
- This would impact rural areas to a greater degree where jobs are often already scarce, and a higher percentage of people participate in Medicaid. As a result, any loss of coverage would put additional strain on already struggling rural healthcare systems.
- As a state that has chosen not to expand Medicaid, this proposal would only impact very low-income parents, and young mothers most of all.
- The number of uninsured children in South Carolina had increased in the last two years, this proposal would only add to this trend as uninsured parents generally means uninsured children.
Don’t miss this opportunity to make your voice heard. Submit your comments today!