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And Here We Thought Gov. Haley Was Acting In Good Faith

From The Post & Courier:

Haley dictated panel finding

Outcome ordered before health committee met

By Renee “Little Girl” Dudley

rdudley@postandcourier.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gov. Nikki Haley dictated the conclusions of a committee charged with deciding how the state should implement federal health care reform before the group ever held its first meeting, public documents show.

Now, some of those involved in the dozens of meetings are calling the entire planning process a sham that wasted their time and part of a $1 million federal grant.

In a March 31 email thread that included Haley, her top advisers and the committee member who eventually wrote the report, Haley wrote, “The whole point of this commission should be to figure out how to opt out and how to avoid a federal takeover, NOT create a state exchange,” which is eventually what happened.

A central part of the federal health care overhaul, an exchange is a marketplace where various insurance plans eventually will be sold.

The emails were released to the newspaper Friday afternoon in response to a Nov. 16 public records request to the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

The newspaper had made a nearly identical request of the governor’s office in May, but the office did not include the emails in its response.

The documents show a first-term Republican administration focused on public perception of its handling of the Democratic health care reform law. They also reveal the tight control Haley and her top aides exercise over other state agencies, requiring media inquiries to various state departments to pass through the governor’s office for inspection.

“Oh my God, we just threw $1 million away here,” said Frank Knapp, who participated in the meetings as president of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “This confirms this whole thing was an effort to justify the million-dollar grant, but the reality is they had no intention of even exploring whether the state should establish an exchange — which is exactly what the grant called for.” Continue reading

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