KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Harkin Blasts South Carolina Over Exchange Grant

The chairman of the Senate HELP Committee wants the HHS inspector general to investigate whether a $1 million federal grant was misused.

Politico Pro: Harkin Calls For Probe Of S.C. Exchange Grant
Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin is calling on HHS to investigate whether South Carolina should return federal health insurance exchange funds after a local newspaper found that Gov. Nikki Haley tried to influence a planning committee to reject a state-based exchange. Haley told the state’s health secretary that an exchange advisory committee — funded by a $1 million federal grant — should figure out how to opt out of the ACA instead of building a South Carolina exchange, according to emails uncovered last week by the South Carolina Post and Courier (Millman, 12/22).

The Hill: Sen. Harkin Seeks Formal Probe Into S.C. Gov. Haley's Use Of Health Care Grant
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is seeking a federal investigation into charges that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley misused a grant provided under the healthcare reform law. ... Harkin, chairman of the Senate's Health Committee, on Thursday asked the inspector general in the Health and Human Services Department to investigate whether the Haley administration misused its grant and should repay the federal government. "Spending taxpayer funds to construct an ideologically-motivated façade not only violates Congress’s intent, but also the public’s trust in government," Harkin wrote (Baker, 12/22).

The Hill: Haley Aide: Furor Over Health Care Grant A ‘Joke’
A spokesman for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) said Thursday that there is no reason to investigate the state's use of a grant to implement President Obama's healthcare law. "This is a joke," spokesman Rob Godfrey said. "Governor Haley has long been on record opposing Obamacare and its exchanges, and she remains committed to keeping them out of South Carolina." South Carolina accepted a $1 million grant to study its options for establishing an insurance exchange. But a South Carolina newspaper reported last week that Haley told the panel conducting the study that its real mission was to find a way to avoid setting up an exchange (Baker, 12/22).

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