A South Carolina senator complained that Medicaid health care programs for the poor, elderly and disabled are like a Mercedes Benz as the Senate on Wednesday debated a $5.9 billion spending plan.
State Sen. Kevin Bryant, an Anderson Republican, said the state-federal Medicaid program makes people dependent on government and less likely to take jobs that offer worse health care coverage.
"When I look at the coverage offered by Medicaid versus any other health plan, I would compare that Medicaid coverage to a $100,000 Mercedes," Bryant said. "It's way more than adequate. It's way more than a safety net. It's not a hand up; it's a handout."
Medicaid, Bryant said, "almost forces the recipients to be dependent on the system instead of taking that job that offers coverage that's not quite as good."
Spending for the state's Medicaid program has been a top budget issue. Budget writers balanced the Department of Health and Human Services budget partly by a $125 million reduction in doctor and hospital reimbursements and eliminating a handful of services. Last week, they agreed to require Medicaid patients first to use generic drugs when available instead of brand-name prescriptions.