Dr. Oran Smith

Legislative update: Lawmakers move on Direct Primary Care, scholarship program

February 16, 2018

Dr. Oran Smith

In the fight for freedom here in the Palmetto State, weeks – even months – can go by without seeing conservative ideals advance in the General Assembly. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, will come a week that is nothing short of a gift.

The legislative week that just ended was one of those epiphanies.

Here’s what happened.

Competency Based Learning made it to the House floor, as did a bill to mandate screening for dyslexia in public schools. PPI has long advocated CBE as a way for every student to work at his or her own pace, measured not by the clock but by mastery of a body of knowledge. Screening for Dyslexia builds on the “Read to Succeed” legislation we championed years ago by ensuring that experts are made available to catch signs of special needs and intervene with those students early. We are hoping for the passage of both of these measures next week.

Two extremely important pieces of legislation that did pass the House were among our top priorities: protecting Direct Primary Care, and making the Exceptional SC scholarship program permanent law. We have researched extensively on the urgent need to move the Exceptional SC Special Needs Scholarship program from just a temporary year-to-year proviso in the state budget to a full-fledged law. The kids who are served deserve consistency and predictability. The second piece of legislation concerns Direct Primary Care, or what we like to call “Cash for Care.” With DPC, a physician can opt out of the insurance system altogether and simply post a menu of prices for their services. Patients can even subscribe to care for a monthly fee and enjoy 24/7 service.

Onto the Senate with these exciting initiatives!

The innovation that is farthest along in the legislative process is the proposed creation of a state Computer Science Education Initiative. The House passed this bill last year and it hit the Senate floor yesterday. The “deliberative body” can be slow, but we have hope for this transformative initiative led by the Speaker of the House.

And finally, in a smaller victory, the House summoned up the courage to begin a debate on the importance of free speech on campus.

It was a surprisingly good week on the Freedom Frontlines. We need many more before adjournment in May.

Stay tuned to learn how you can help advance The Freedom Agenda.