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Haley gets high marks, poll says, but higher hospital taxes also favored

Feb 9, 2011 2:49:00 PM - thestate.com
Gov. Nikki Haley gets strong marks from voters, according to those surveyed in a poll this week. But a majority of those voters also disagree with Haley's opposition to a proposal by S.C. hospitals to voluntarily raise their taxes in order to stave off cuts to the state-run health care program for the poor and disabled.

Forty-five percent of those surveyed rated Haley's job performance as "excellent" or "good," according to the Monday telephone poll of 600 voters who cast ballots in the 2010 elections, conducted by Democratic-affiliated firm Crantford Research. About 29 percent rated Haley's job performance as "fair" or "poor." A quarter of voters were undecided.

A majority of those surveyed, 55 percent, said they supported an idea proposed by hospitals to increase voluntarily the $260 million in taxes that they pay annually to help offset cuts to the Medicaid program.

The state Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees Medicaid, has sought to reduce what doctors and hospitals are paid for treating the poor and disabled. However, the hospitals argue that increasing the tax that they pay -- which could receive a $3 in federal matching money for every $1 raised locally -- makes more economic sense than cutting payments to hospitals and doctors.

Health and Human Services director Anthony Keck has said Haley would not support the tax increase.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)