The Greenville News recently highlighted findings from the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health's (IMPH) recent report Health Outcomes Associated with Medicaid Expansion in Adults Reaching Retirement Age.

recent report by the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health, in partnership with AARP, found that older South Carolinians experienced worse health outcomes than other culturally and demographically similar states like Louisiana and Kentucky that opted to expand Medicaid. 

The research found that affordable and early preventive services to screen diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, cancer as well as heart diseases, which disproportionally affect non-Hispanic Black residents, could reduce Medicare expenses later in life.

“Who are we talking about; what does this population look like?” said AARP South Carolina State Director, Teresa Arnold during a presentation of the report's finding last month. 

“One example is a homeless woman who recently approached my pastor late in the evening. She said that she had schizophrenia and couldn't keep a job and did not have healthcare," Arnold recounted. "My pastor tried to help her, but what would really help her is access to health care, treatment and the proper drugs to stabilize her condition and help her work.”

Arnold said that AARP's poll surveying support for Medicaid expansion showed that nearly 8 in 10 SC voters supported expansion. Sixty-nine percent of the voters in the survey pool were Republicans. 

In 2019, a quarter of SC's uninsured population consisted of seniors who fell between the ages 50 and 65, said Brittney Sanderson, a policy analyst and researcher who worked on the report. But those numbers decline sharply in the 65-75 age group because that's when Medicare kicks in. 

SC AARP's Director of Health Care Access Glen Fewkes said that nearly 99,000 residents lost health coverage during the pandemic.

Read the full article from Greenville News State Government Reporter Devyani Chhetri here.