Our Own Desert Island

Later today–between I:00 and 2:00 pm– there will be a rally at the Indiana Statehouse on behalf of the nearly 400,000 Hoosiers who find themselves marooned on Indiana–the island of the uninsured.

States surrounding us, Republican and Democrat, have opted to take advantage of the new federal incentives and expand Medicaid. Not Indiana. Our Governor has decided that political posturing trumps the health needs of Indiana citizens who work in retail, education, home health, child care and other low-wage jobs without benefits. These are the people who are caught in the middle, who are too poor to use the new exchanges but  too “rich” to qualify for Indiana’s existing medical programs.

It’s pretty obvious that refusing to expand Medicaid effectively screws over these  400,000 Hoosiers. What is less obvious–and even more maddening–is how that refusal screws over the rest of us.

  • If a state expands its Medicaid coverage, the federal government will pay 100% of the costs for the first three years and 90% thereafter. Indiana is forgoing approximately twenty-six billion dollars between now and 2020–dollars that would create an estimated 30,000 sorely needed new jobs in our state.
  • The American Academy of Actuaries says that private insurance costs will rise in non-expansion states like Indiana. Local media has reported that Hoosiers are already seeing rates higher than the rates in states that surround our “island.”
  • The federal money we are turning down would offset expenses for indigent care and prison health care that are currently being covered by Indiana taxpayers.

Medicaid expansion would save money while saving lives and improving the health of our citizens. It would provide access to preventative care to those who are currently uninsured, reducing the tab for healthcare costs overall, including those that we taxpayers are now paying.

I know you’ll all be shocked to discover that Indiana currently ranks near the bottom of all states for most health indicators. In a sane world, we would jump at the opportunity to improve Indiana’s health and its economy.

Governor Pence’s refusal to expand Medicaid has already forced significant layoffs by Indiana hospitals, which have argued forcefully–but thus far unsuccessfully–for expansion. Other states with Republican governors have done the math and decided that the good of their citizens should trump their hatred of the President.

This should be a no-brainer.

I’ll forego the obvious pun.


  1. Once again, we are reminded that getting elected is not a credential for the ability to govern or administrate and that personal opinion, bias, overrides the necessities of the general public.

  2. As they have told us for decades, the ONLY things they care about is NO NEW TAXES and lower taxes for the super rich. If poor people are sick and dying, if that screws up our hospital system, no problem… as the super rich can always take care of themselves. What amazes me is that why so many people in this state vote for these morons. I guess it might be the poor school systems that allows such poor decision making by the voter. Somehow the “R” people can still use the HATE card (We hate Blacks, Gays, Brown Folks, Uppity Women) to get poor and working class white people to vote against their own interests. Amazing trick really.

  3. How can Pence and the others manage to do all that “political posturing” with their heads buried in the sand? Is this multi-tasking? It certainly is not productive.

    I just spend 29 hours without power; from 4:30 p.m. on Sunday till 9:00 p.m. Monday; I of course missed all news reports. Opened my Star yesterday to the picture of the demolished building at Washington and Ritter but little information about local damage other than the worst was in Irvington. The rest of the lengthy article primarily covered damages in Illinois. The Star today reported damage in Kokomo – has Indianpolis and nearby areas hit by the storms been ignored by Pence regarding damage, giving the Star nothing to report? These victims, like the uninsured, will be on their own.

  4. It is important to know roughly how much this irresponsibility and insensitivity costs in additional insurance dollars. If we know that, and it’s from a reliable and nonpartisan source, we along with the media need to tell everyone. Sometimes the most ideological people are impacted with a fact, “This is how much this guy is costing YOU every month.” Taxes aren’t the only costs on the table.

    This information needs to be broken down for people who need to buy private insurance and also for those folks who have employer-paid insurance. I understand that if everyone has signed on and everyone has insurance, the hospitals won’t have to cover those costs, which will result in lower employer-paid insurance rates. If that happens, employers will be more open to more employees having insurance. If I don’t know the whole story, I can only imagine the situation of people who don’t read much and only (horrors) listen to Faux News.

  5. In the red state I live in, the governor decided to expand the Medicaid program against the wishes of the anti-government folks and state congress. By doing this 300+ jobs have been created to the state for administrators of the programs. I know this because a friend of mine that has been unemployed for nearly 3 years was happy to get hired. The pay is close to poverty level but it’s a job right?

    Pence’s office needs to be stormed by those recipients that need this health care expansion and the unemployed protesting that he did not create jobs that it could have provided a partial living wage with benefits. What a shame that Indiana has become the Mississippi of the Midwest.

  6. You forgot to mention that this Medicaid expansion through the ACA is being done in all four of our surrounding states: Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois. But not Indiana!

  7. There is also the Medicaid issue in Indiana that will result in home nursing care being cut to many senior and disabled of all ages. What are they to do? The home nursing providers will be among the jobless, raising that number here and (hopefully) result in unemployment benefits for them if eligible. I personally know of two cases, involving 2 of the nursing providers and another who receives this assistance for her 86 year old mother with late–stage Alzheimer’s, who benefits by this care. What are the actual numbers of those who will be effected – on both sides – due to refusal by Daniels and Pence of federal funds to expand Medicaid assistance?

  8. Off the Subject, but need to share:
    Melissa Bachman (American Outdoors T.V. presenter) Quoted (along with her
    picture beside a dead lion, she had just killed) “What a Hunt”

    British Comedian “Ricky Gervais” put the quote on his twitter feed and added
    “Spot the Typo”

    Way to go Ricky.

  9. Here is a suggested version of new armed Three Stooges; Dick Cheney, Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin.

  10. pence (I know that the p is lowercase) and the other elected, republican officials don’t care about Hoosiers, unless they contribute massive amounts of money to them. Did I mention they are Christians? Their words, not mine. WWJD?

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