Columbia, SC (WLTX) - South Carolina House Democrats presented a plan Monday to expand Medicaid over the next three years using federal funds.
"Morally, it is the right thing to do to provide coverage for those South Carolinians who are not covered by a health care plan," said Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, Chair of the SC Legislative Black Caucus Health Committee. "We have parliamentary maneuvers that we will use to get it passed."
If Democrats can get the General Assembly to accept the money, it could provide coverage to as many as half a million South Carolinians.
Democrats say they will also introduce a Contingency Care Fund to keep the expansion alive after the federal dollars expire.
"If given the option to have health care and that meant in 3 years we potentially wouldn't have it, I think everyone reasonably speaking would take the option of having that health care," said House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland.
Republicans who don't want to take the money say it's about reforming medicaid now instead of 3 years down the road.
"What we need to do is start addressing our current system before we start expanding," said Rep. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter. "I don't think anyone expects us to go three years and drop it. This whole plan is to put our foot in the door and keep going through."
Many Republican governors across the state have sided with taking the money. Governor Haley however says it's not good for South Carolina.
"Obamacare wasn't a good idea last year, it wasn't a good idea this year," said Haley. "I don't care how temporary or how many promises Washington makes, I'm not buying."