Health Care Action Group
GOALS AND IMPLEMENTING OBJECTIVES
Background and Purpose
(prepared December 2022)
A small group of League of Women Voters of Oconee and Pickens Counties (LWVOP) members (formerly LWV Clemson Area) met on April 7, 2021 via Zoom to share ideas and begin planning for local League action on health care priorities. The group that became the LWVOP Health Care Team is guided by LWVSC_Program & Action Agenda_2019-2021_2ndEd on health care page 21, and LWVUS policies and position statements.
The Health Care Team initially focused on Medicaid expansion in South Carolina based on the COVID Relief Act (Federal) that provided new financial incentives to 12 states, including South Carolina, to expand Medicaid. “LWVSC believes that South Carolina should help to ensure coverage of its citizens by expanding Medicaid or similar federal programs to the extent feasible.”
To prepare ourselves for local action, members and others attended Zoom programs on access to health care offered by LWV Charleston Area’s Health Policy Working Group in March 2022 and a League Education and Advocacy Day (LEAD) Program offered by the LWVSC Working Group on Health Policy in January 2022. The LWVOP Health Care Team presented a program on "Access to Health Care in Oconee and Pickens Counties" in March 2022 via Zoom. Details are included in THE VOTER issues March 2022 and May 2022 — Archived Newsletters. However, inaction by the SC legislature and strong opposition by the Governor, as well as the possibility of federal legislation (Build Back Better) to provide the coverage for uninsured low-income residents through the Affordable Care Act, put the efforts for Medicaid expansion on hold.
During 2022, several LWVOP Health Care Team members joined with other LWVOP members and non-members to form the LWVOP Reproductive Rights Group in response to legislative action in both the SC House and Senate to pass a more restrictive ban on abortion in South Carolina. Find details in THE VOTER issues August 2022, October 2022, November 2022 and December 2022 — Archived Newsletters. After months of hearings, committee meetings and special sessions, the two chambers could not resolve their differences, so no new abortion ban was passed.
Other health related activities supported by members of the LWVOP Health Care Team and others include a monthly dinner for the homeless shelter in Seneca during 2021 and the Healthy Oconee Coalition which is ongoing with 4 priorities — Mental Health, Active Living/Chronic Disease, Access to Health Care and Maternal & Child Health.
Purpose/Objectives of LWVOP Health Care Team
1. Promote access to affordable, quality health care by working toward accepting Medicaid expansion in South Carolina and other relevant initiatives
2. Plan and carry out other activities in response to action impacting access to health care in South Carolina or across the country
a. Monitor policy development and legislative action at state and local level to address specific health care issues:
- Medicaid expansion
- COVID -19 Pandemic response
- Reproductive health and rights, particularly abortion and contraception
- Higher maternal mortality for African American women in SC
b. Provide information to LWVOP members to support individual efforts to influence local decision makers and educate the public on selected current issues
c. Partner with other local organizations working on local health care issues
As of late 2022, the Committee is working on Medicaid expansion again due to the formation of a state Medicaid expansion coalition, led by LWVSC. The LWVOP Medicaid expansion group meets the second Monday of each month at 1:30 PM by zoom. It is a part of CoverSC, the statewide coalition of organizations, working to pass legislation that will expand Medicaid to uninsured South Carolinians by 2025. The group has a number of focuses.
- What we communicate to explain the benefits of expansion
- Methods we use to communicate
- Groups and individuals to whom we communicate
The committee of approximately 12 LWVOP members is engaged in these areas, reporting their progress at monthly meetings. Its intention is to begin adding individuals and representatives of other organizations by late spring 2023.
The state coalition’s website is CoverSC.org. It has approximately 20 statewide organization members and is growing.
For more Information, contact Janet Marsh, jmarsh [at] clemson.edu.
Health Care Team members
Eleanor Hare, Eunice Lehmacher, Janet Marsh, Ruth Reed, Janie Shipley, Ellie Taylor and Theodore Taylor