Healthcare Access in SC

Healthcare Access in SC

The League of Women Voters believes that all South Carolinians should have affordable access to a basic level of quality health care that includes behavioral health care and reproductive health care, but the reality is that this remains out of reach for many. We believe that SC should participate in federal programs to provide health care insurance and services for all South Carolinians.

By the numbers…

What percentage of adult South Carolinians are uninsured? 
In 2019, approximately 16% of our state’s adult population (19-64 years old) was uninsured, which amounts to about 467,500 people.
Who are the uninsured in South Carolina?
Among uninsured in South Carolina, 87% are aged 19-64. 55.5% are male. 51.5% are white.
How many people in South Carolina are on Medicaid?
In 2019, there were about 936,000 people on Medicaid. That’s approximately 18.8% of our state’s population on Medicaid.
What is the income limit to receive Medicaid for a family?
A three-person family cannot make more than ~$13,466 per year to qualify for Medicaid in SC.
If South Carolina expanded Medicaid, how many people would have access to health insurance?
Approximately 207,000 people fall in the “coverage gap.” These individuals are not eligible for Medicaid in South Carolina because their income is considered too high for Medicaid, or they do not have children (childless adults).
medicaid expansion graphic


Past Events 

Intersection of Mental Healthcare and Criminal Justice, April 2023

Intersection of Mental Health Care and Criminal Justice, event graphic

This program was part of our LWV Connects series, resulting from a collaboration between the League's Health Policy and Criminal Justice Committees. You can watch the recording here or view the slides hereCo-sponsored by Fetter Health Care Network, Palmetto Project, SCNA (South Carolina Nurses Association), SCBHC (South Carolina Behavioral Health Coalition) and The Dignity Project. If you or a loved one have been impacted by mental health issues, please consider telling your story as a way to advocate. Legislators need to hear stories from citizens.

  • One in five adults has some type of mental disorder in 2020.
  • Many times, mental health issues and substance use disorders are co-occurring. Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a form of mental illness.
  • If you're suffering from mental illness, there are several ways in which you may receive treatment: voluntary commitment (an individual willing goes to a center), involuntary or civil commitment (an individual has a hearing held at a hospital or courthouse when he/she is deemed a danger to themself or others), or court-assisted treatment (an individual enters the criminal justice system).
  • Over the last 40 years, incarceration in jails and prisons has increased while state hospital beds have decreased.
  • South Carolina Department of Mental Health and detention centers collaborate to provide clinicians, psychiatrists, telehealth, and follow-up services for inmates suffering from mental health issues.
  • If South Carolina expands Medicaid, we could help approximately 300,000 South Carolinians with healthcare access. Approximately 100,000 of those individuals would have access to mental healthcare services.

Three experts brought critical perspectives on the state's programs and practices addressing mental health and criminal justice: 

  • Judge Irvin G. CondonCPA, Esquire, Probate Judge for Charleston County Probate Court 
  • J. Matthew "Matt" Dorman, Executive Director for Berkeley Community Mental Health Center
  • Bill Lindsey, Executive Director for National Alliance on Mental Illness in South Carolina (NAMI SC)

Expanding Healthcare Access in South Carolina, March 2022

In Part 1 of this series [Weds Mar 9] we 1) provide historical context to health insurance access in SC, 2) describe other states' experiences with expanding Medicaid, 3) focus on economic incentives of federal policies to increase healthcare coverage in SC, and 4) share public opinion about increasing healthcare access in SC. Watch the recording here and click the image below for slides.

Health care slides

Expanding Healthcare Access in South Carolina, Part 2 

In the second session of this Healthcare Access series [Weds Mar 23], we (1) take a deep dive into misinformation and misconceptions about public health insurance (e.g., Medicaid), (2) address rhetoric concerning healthcare access in SC, and (3) have a Call to Action where we provide talking points and facts that you can share with your networks to keep the conversation going. Click here for slides from Part 2 and watch the recording here.

Thanks to the following co-sponsors for their support of this healthcare series:

Healthcare event sponsors 

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