SC Medicaid program likely to expand even with ACA opposition

Advertisements about the Affordable Care Act and changes regarding enrollment could drive up the Medicaid rolls even in states that are not planning on expanding their programs, the New York Times reported.

According to the Times, South Carolina could add as many as 344,000 to the Medicaid rolls--a boost of about one-third-- because many of those already eligible for the program, but not enrolled, will likely to apply, prodded by the individual mandate to get coverage and outreach efforts from advertising and healthcare navigators. Hospitals are also now required to check patients for Medicaid eligibility as part of the ACA, and children are automatically enrolled if their household receives food stamps or other forms of assistance.

"If they are eligible for Medicaid, they should get it," William R. Jennings Jr., M.D., medical director at the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, told the Times. The state recently certified more than two dozen retail clinics located in pharmacies as Medicaid providers.

Should Medicaid expand in South Carolina as predicted, it could help the bottom line of the state's hospitals.

Medicaid coverage is pervasive throughout the U.S., even before eligibility will expand in 2014. The program currently covers about half of the nation's births, FierceHealthFinance previously reported.

However, the Times noted that in a conservative state such as South Carolina, many are still opposed to the program for a variety of reasons  For example, state Sen. Kevin L. Bryant told the newspaper.. "The costs of the current Medicaid rolls are unsustainable." 

To learn more:
- read the New York Times article