South Carolina House defeats Medicaid expansion

By SEANNA ADCOXAssociated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The South Carolina House has rejected attempts by Democrats to temporarily extend Medicaid eligibility to hundreds of thousands of poor adults.

The House voted along party lines Tuesday on proposals to expand eligibility while the federal government covers the costs.

The votes followed nearly five hours of pleading at the podium. Democrats frequently cited scripture in calling expansion of the government health care program a moral obligation.

Gov. Nikki Haley and the House GOP caucus oppose the expansion, saying the state can't afford it.

Democrats argued it makes sense to do so for at least three years. They say officials can evaluate later whether to continue coverage as the state match grows to 10%.

Republicans counter it would be politically impossible to toss people off rolls once they're enrolled.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.