SCDHHS’s Waiver Request: The Good and The Bad

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In late December 2018, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) released an initial proposal to request a waiver from the federal government to allow for the implementation of work requirements for many South Carolinians who get their health care coverage through Medicaid. This proposal was flawed and deeply concerning, and in response, people from across our state stood firm in their opposition against it. Your comments mattered. This month, SCDHHS released a revised proposal in response to the thoughtful feedback. The new version is vastly improved, but there’s still much work to do.

The new proposal actually contains many positive improvements to Medicaid in South Carolina, however, at its core, it still doesn’t confront the fundamental problems with Medicaid work requirements.

Here’s what’s good: first, the state is proposing expanding Medicaid to women for 10 months to a full year postpartum. Second, it increases coverage for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to 246% of the federal poverty line. Third, it increases the low-income parent rate from 67% of the poverty line to 100%.

By themselves, these policy changes would be a step in the right direction, but they come in the context of adding ineffective and harmful work requirements for many low-income people in our state who rely on Medicaid for their most basic health needs. On one hand, the proposal would expand coverage to post-partum mothers, children and parents. On another, the revised proposal does little to address the true barriers to employment that exist for South Carolina’s most vulnerable people.

Your comments worked once before, and we need you to once again raise your voice against the harmful elements of this revised proposal. This is also an important opportunity to tell SCDHHS to keep the good parts added to the proposal following the first round of comments, as explained above.

This proposal represents a unique opportunity to do some real good by increasing coverage and eligibility in South Carolina. Still, the people of South Carolina do not want our state agency to adopt draconian work requirements in exchange for these key improvements. When you submit your comments, remind SCDHHS that according to the law, the Federal Secretary of Health and Human Services does NOT have the authority to grant work requirements for Medicaid.

The comment period for the revised waiver ends on April 3. Submit your comments to SCDHHS today to voice your support for new, expanded benefits while also fighting against harmful work requirements.

Submit your comments here:

SCDHHS will also hold public hearings on the proposal in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston next week.

Monday, March 25, 2019

6-7 p.m.

Greenville County Public Library,
Hughes Main Library
25 Heritage Green Place
Greenville, SC 29601

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

5-6 p.m.

Richland Library Main, Auditorium
1431 Assembly Street
Columbia, SC 29201

Friday, March 29, 2019

4:30-5:30 p.m.

Charleston Public Library
68 Calhoun Street
Charleston, SC 29401

Thank you for your action on this important issue. Your comments matter and together we’re making a difference in South Carolina every day. Get your comments in today!