Lady’s Island Notes

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By Jim Hicks, Lady’s Island Business Professionals Association

SCE&G Makes Improvements on Lady’s Island.  Recently there has been a great deal of activity with the electrical lines on the poles near the intersection of Brickyard Point Road and Middle Road. This construction is the result of a project by SCE&G to minimize the area affected by future power outages.  Specifically, the current project will separate the Middle Road community electrical circuit from the Brickyard Point circuit and install supervisory control and data acquisition switches.

Food for Thought. Recently Mr. Rick Toomey, President and CEO of the Beaufort Memorial Hospital and incoming President of the South Carolina Hospital Association, in a “letter to the editor” of the local papers, explained the need for the State of South Carolina to participate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and the impact on Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s ability to provide health care if it does not. His position is that “refusing Medicaid expansion means South Carolina will forego more than $11 billion in federal dollars while absorbing $2.6 billion in cuts” resulting in “Beaufort Memorial Hospital not being able to provide an acceptable level of care to its served population.”

At the present time, 26 states are implementing some version of the Affordable Care Act, three are pursuing an alternate model, one is leaning toward adopting the program, five are leaning toward not participating and 15 have indicated a strong refusal to join the program. Governor Haley, citing concern over the long range cost of implementing the program in South Carolina, has indicated: “We will not expand Medicaid on President Obama’s watch.  We will not expand Medicaid ever.”

The SC House of Representatives recently passed HB 3101 entitled the “Freedom of Healthcare Protection Act” or so-called “nullification“ bill that declares the Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional and thus is “null and void” and criminalizes its implementation. The bill has been sent to the South Carolina Senate where it was assigned to a committee for further study.  Surely, there can be more substantive dialog on this subject between the representatives of our hospitals and state government. Mr. Toomey and the Board of Directors of Beaufort Memorial Hospital have provided the community with detailed facts and figures as to why, in their professional opinion, it is in the best interest of both the state and the community to accept some form of implementation of the program and indicated what the impact on local health care will be if it is not. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is complicated, difficult to understand and will certainly need to be changed and modified as time goes by, but when your state is ranked 46th in overall health status in the U.S., surely those who make our laws can sit down with those who provide our health care and find a more serious solution than declaring the concept “null and void.”