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South Carolina Dem Calls BS On Christie For Medicaid Attack Ad

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AP Photo / JOHN D. RUSSELL

"You and I have the same position on this issue—keep our own federal tax dollars working for the people of our states," Sheheen wrote in the letter. "Then today, the Republican Governors Association, which you Chair, launched attack ads against me for taking the same position that you and seven other GOP Governors have taken on Medicaid expansion."

The RGA spent $200,000 on the Sheheen attack ad. It attacks Sheheen for supporting "much of Obamacare."

"Now, Vincent Sheheen wants to use Obamacare for a $2 billion expansion of Medicaid in South Carolina, a voiceover in the ad said. The ad doesn't mention, however, that the Republican governors of Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, and other states have also signed onto the key provision the ad attacks Sheheen over.

Sheheen wants Christie to say how many jobs were lost under the Medicaid expansion.

"The RGA ad claims that the choice to bring our tax dollars back in-state would hurt South Carolina," Sheheen continued. "So, I ask you: How many jobs has New Jersey lost as a result of your decision to accept your Medicaid dollars? How many New Jersey businesses have been harmed by your choice to put your state’s tax dollars to work back at home? And how much has this expansion cost the taxpayers of New Jersey?"

Read Sheheen's letter to Christie below:

March 3, 2014

The Honorable Chris Christie

Governor of New Jersey

Dear Governor Christie,

A governor’s job is to lead and act in the best interest of the people of their state. You rightly made that argument last year when you chose to expand Medicaid in New Jersey.

You said: “Accepting these federal resources will provide health insurance to tens of thousands of low-income New Jerseyans, help keep our hospitals financially healthy and actually save money for New Jersey taxpayers…[it] is the smart thing to do for our fiscal and public health….Refusing these federal dollars would not mean that they wouldn't be spent. It just means that they will be used to expand health-care access in New York, Connecticut, Ohio or somewhere else. ... It’s simple. We’re putting people first.”

Just five days ago, you affirmed your position in your budget address – saying you were “proud” to have expanded Medicaid in New Jersey.

You and I have the same position on this issue—keep our own federal tax dollars working for the people of our states.

Then today, the Republican Governors Association, which you Chair, launched attack ads against me for taking the same position that you and seven other GOP Governors have taken on Medicaid expansion.

The RGA ad claims that the choice to bring our tax dollars back in-state would hurt South Carolina. So, I ask you: How many jobs has New Jersey lost as a result of your decision to accept your Medicaid dollars? How many New Jersey businesses have been harmed by your choice to put your state’s tax dollars to work back at home? And how much has this expansion cost the taxpayers of New Jersey?

Independent research has shown that bringing South Carolinians’ hard-earned tax dollars back into our state would create 44,000 jobs and boost South Carolina’s economy. The South Carolina Hospital Association has stated that, “The evidence is overwhelming that expanding Medicaid will be good for people and good for business in South Carolina.” They have joined with health care providers around the state to warn of the loss of thousands of jobs and the negative economic ripple effect that will be felt throughout local communities as a result of the choice not to take the expansion. Editorial boards and local Chambers of Commerce have told us that the only reason someone would oppose the expansion is politics, pure and simple.

So please – provide us with the numbers on the impact that your choice to accept federal Medicaid dollars has had on New Jersey to clarify this matter once and for all. And if, as you predicted, that choice to reclaim your state’s tax dollars has benefited New Jersey, then I call on you to have the RGA take down this misleading attack ad.

The problem with Washington, DC and national politics in general is hypocrisy. Leaders driven by self-interest who disregard facts in favor of ideology are no leaders at all. And all of our states deserve better than these kinds of hypocritical and underhanded tactics.

I look forward to your response.

Thank you,

Vincent Sheheen