Report Outlines Urgent Need for Federal Approach to Provide Relief to Millions of People Who Have Been Locked Out of Coverage

Washington, DC — Today, Protect Our Care is releasing a report on the impacts of the Coverage Gap in South Carolina, one of 13 states that refuse to expand Medicaid. Americans with low-incomes should not be forced to go without health coverage simply because they live in a state that has refused Medicaid expansion. According to the report, nearly 325,000 South Carolinians could gain coverage and, even after paying for the cost of expansion, the state would receive an additional $600 million in from the federal government thanks to the American Rescue Plan.

However, South Carolina Governor McMaster continues to stand in the way of expansion, calling the incentives for expansion in the American Rescue Plan a “bribe. In response to Republican inaction, Democrats in Congress are now proposing another approach that would have the federal government close the Medicaid expansion gap this year by creating a federal solution to medicare expansion that would bypass those state governments who refuse to do the right thing.

The report comes after leaders of the Congressional Tri-Caucus, which includes the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), joined more than 60 of their colleagues on a letter advocating for closing the coverage gap through the American Families Plan.

“South Carolinians are suffering unnecessarily due to the state’s failure to expand Medicaid. Closing the Medicaid gap will not only provide many low-income families with access to health care, it will help rural hospitals remain open, create jobs, and save lives,” said Congressman James E. Clyburn. “This is not an argument about how much it will cost to expand Medicaid, it is about what it will cost us if we don’t.”

“Waiting for the Republican leaders in these states to change course is no longer a viable option,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “By refusing to expand Medicaid in their state, South Carolina Republican lawmakers are denying coverage to their most vulnerable populations. Despite the overwhelming benefits of Medicaid expansion, and even with the additional incentives included in the American Rescue Plan, Republicans have put politics over people by continuing to reject the program. Democrats are proposing a bold new approach for the federal government to close the expansion gap, and Congress must take action now to make it a reality. Protect Our Care is grateful for the leadership of Majority Whip James Clyburn on this issue and his continuing commitment to ensure South Carolinians and all Americans have access to the care they need.”

Read the new report on closing the coverage gap in South Carolina.

Read the previous reports on Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.