Senate Set to Debate Nullification

Now that the South Carolina Senate has completed its work on ethics reform, they are free to move on to controversial legislation that seeks to nullify the Affordable Care Act in South Carolina.

Now that the South Carolina Senate has completed its work on ethics reform, they are free to move on to controversial legislation that seeks to nullify the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in South Carolina. H.3101 was introduced in the House last session by Representative Bill Chumley (R-Spartanburg) making its way into a special order slot in the Senate which forces the body to take up the legislation. We expect that the Senate will debate the bill this week.
 
The bill has been amended multiple times as opponents of the bill found the original language offensive and archaic. Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) is expected to amend the legislation this week to make it more onerous on organizations and public officials that attempt to aid in the implementation of the ACA in South Carolina. Davis’ amendment is expected to prohibit state agencies and local governments from helping people buy health coverage on the Federal Marketplace. This would impact state and public hospitals that try to help people access affordable health insurance. It will also further regulate those acting as navigators, adding various certification and training requirements.
 
The SCHA opposes nullification as it would further impede the ability of South Carolinians to obtain health coverage, increasing the cost shift to citizens that pay health insurance premiums. With the Governor and GOP continuing to oppose Medicaid expansion, hospitals are more reliant on people accessing coverage through the Federal Marketplace to make up for the billions in federal cuts levied on hospitals by the ACA.
 
In fact, one of DHHS Director Tony Keck’s chief arguments against Medicaid expansion last year was that hospitals would be able to survive the cuts because more people would be able to access health insurance through the Marketplace. H.3101 would it more difficult for South Carolinians to obtain affordable health coverage and cause confusion over the status of the ACA that would negatively impact the patients our hospitals serve.