By Julian Pecquet - 12/14/11 09:33 PM EST
Critics are accusing Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) of wasting more than $100,000 in federal tax dollars on what critics call a "sham" analysis of how to implement President Obama's healthcare reform law in her state.
The governor applied for and received a $1 million federal grant to plan for health insurance exchanges, which will go online in 2014. In states that don't set up their own exchanges, the federal government will run things.
"The whole point of this commission should be to figure out how to opt out and how to avoid a federal takeover, NOT create a state exchange," Haley said in a March 31 email obtained by the paper under the state's public records law.
A spokesman for the Haley administration told The Post and Courier that the governor was "watching out for the citizens of our state as we try to deliver the most health care for the least amount of money."
Haley's comments also raise questions about what other Republican-led states are doing with their healthcare reform grants. Every state except Alaska applied for and received $1 million exchange planning grants last year.
"This confirms this whole thing was an effort to justify the million-dollar grant," Frank Knapp, the president of the pro-reform South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, told the newspaper. "But the reality is they had no intention of even exploring whether the state should establish an exchange — which is exactly what the grant called for."