Haley says SC will continue to fight against federal mandates

jzou@heraldonline.comOctober 10, 2013 

Gov. Nikki Haley


South Carolina is faring well during the federal government shutdow, Gov. Nikki Haley said Tuesday in Lake Wylie.

“The reason we’re doing so well in the shutdown is that we’ve avoided D.C. at every turn,” said Haley, who is seeking election next year. “South Carolina is the new ‘it’ state across the country.”

The Republican spoke at an event hosted by the River Hills Lions Club at the River Hills Community Church. The event commemorated South Carolina’s observance of the Lions Club’s Sight and Hearing Conservation Week. The local chapter of the state organization raises funds for health-related causes including vision and hearing services.

But the club also invited Haley to give a “state of the state” address, holding a town hall Q&A where residents brought up everything from the Affordable Care Act to national education standards.

“We have gotten so frustrated with Washington,” said Haley, who called the Affordable Care Act “absolutely disastrous” for the state.

South Carolina was one of several states that declined to run a state health exchange, sending residents without insurance to the online federal exchange to meet upcoming deadlines for mandated health coverage. The state also opted out of Medicaid expansion.

“Is it coming down anyway? Yes, but South Carolina is fighting, kicking and screaming,” she said, referring to the mandate.

Haley said her administration has been looking at state-run initiatives that focus on patient outcomes in hospitals and that set up programs to encourage emergency room patients to select primary care physicians. The goal is to steer those patients away from costly, emergency care.

She also spoke out against the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a federal program that tries to put U.S. schools on the same page when evaluating students in reading, writing, and math. Her administration is looking for a way to “pull back” the program, though Haley conceded the state’s implementation of the overall program, like the Affordable Care Act, is also mandatory.

She added she was also “handcuffed” by the independence of the state Department of Education, whose superintendent is elected by voters and not appointed by the governor.

“I’ve learned to control what you can control,” said Haley. “I have no say in education.”

She encouraged those in the crowd to push for changes that would allow the next governor to appoint his or her own education superintendent.

Jie Jenny Zou•  803-329-4062

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