After our last post, a friend commented that we hadn’t said anything about medical care on Hilton Head. Another friend, a Democrat, said he could never live in South Carolina because of the politics.
Staff at Common Sense for Seniors don’t have any personal experience with the island’s medical situation, and we would love to hear from anyone who does. An internet search suggests, however, that there are no particular worries on the medical front.
Hilton Head has a permanent population of 39,000 and 2.5 million visitors annually — enough to sustain a full range of medical services, as well as a full-time, professional EMS response team. The Hilton Head hospital and regional medical center offer a “Find a Physician” app that indicates considerable choice among medical specializations typically sought by seniors, such as cardiology, internal medicine, and gastroenterology. (Surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be an allergist around, despite the semi-tropical climate.) For more advanced care, seniors could try the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and there is a Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, about three hours away.
As for the politics, if you’re a liberal and a Democrat, you’re not going to be happy with the politics of South Carolina. The state is firmly in the hands of the Republican Party, and despite gradual demographic change, is likely to remain that way until most of us seniors are gone. For ideological reasons, Governor Nikki Haley has prevented the expansion of Medicaid in the state, as permitted by Obamacare at no cost for five years and at minimal cost after that. As a result, at least 160,000 South Carolinians are being denied medical insurance .
On the other hand, liberals and Democrats are not that happy with politics in many other parts of the country, yet we live happy lives in these places nonetheless. Here in New York, the speaker of the state assembly and the majority leader of the state Senate have just been convicted of corruption. But we soldier on.
Much of the South Carolina low country is represented in Congress by Congressman James Clyburn, a Democrat. Hilton Head has been gerrymandered out of his district and is represented by Mark Sanford. That’s right: the guy who as governor put out the word that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail when in fact he was hanging out with his Argentine girl friend. Living in his district would be a little hard to take.
But then again, Sanford’s opponent in the 2013 special congressional election, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, garnered more than 45% of the vote, which is way better than our Democratic candidate did here in western New York in 2014. If you were a Democrat on Hilton Head, you would not be alone. In fact, you could join the Democratic Club of Beaufort County.
So medical care doesn’t seem to be a reason to cross Hilton Head off your list of retirement possibilities. As for politics, if you’re a Republican, no problem. If you’re a Democrat, you may not see your party win elections for years to come; but you’ll have friends, and you could be an agent of long-term change.