“State Run Media” or “Medicaid Expansion?”

Interview With Indiana Governor Mike PenceThere was a lot of hullabaloo over Mike Pence and his so-called “State Run” News organization this week. I’ve done a lot of digging, and to be honest, I am not so much concerned about it all in the big scheme of things. The media still has  the same access and press releases that they did before. They can still slice and dice him all they want. Governor Pence just added a one stop shop for all the agencies to post their stories, events, and news. I guess to me, it is a type of blog for the state’s news.

I filter everything through a “democrat effect filter.”  If I wouldn’t be ok with a Joe Donnelly doing it then I shouldn’t be ok with Mike Pence doing it. The tide could turn and I would have to live with the same policy on the other end of the spectrum. If Joe did something, like what the governor did with his Just IN site, I have the choice to read it… or not to read it. I’d probably read it, just to see what the state house is saying about the things they’re doing. If Governor Pence had shut the press out of the statehouse, then heck yeah, I’d have a problem. I’d even consider the new website a form of “State Run Media.”  In the end, though, the hysterics on this is just a distraction, and a ticked off liberal media who has a burr under their saddle. Because of the outrage from the media he has since pulled the site and announced he will continue to use the in.gov website. It gave the media a week of news I guess.

It’s a matter of choosing your battles.

What I DO have an issue with, (and I told the governor so myself, so this is not breaking news) is the Medicaid expansion… aka HIP 2.0. I’ve done some research this week (both pro and con HIP2.0) because I hoped it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. My opinion of this didn’t get better as I read. Especially after reading the editorial on this in Forbes entitled Gov. Pence’s New Deal: Same Old Obamacare Medicaid Expansion. Their assessment of HIP 2.0 is that it is Obamacare lite. Despite my desire to support the governor in this issue, I have to agree with the author of the article. I don’t see any other way to look at this thing. Bottom line.

I understand political realities. I understand  the governor’s position and the stipulations given to him by the federal government to have our own program. Bringing as much of a consumer driven program to Indiana as possible. But the bottom line…we have expanded Medicaid and put more people on the program.

Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. – Milton Friedman
Josh Archambault, contributor from Forbes did a great job comparing the two programs. Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence. With Mitch Daniels plan, the enrollment was capped at 36,500. Pence’s removes that cap. I don’t think that’s a good thing. In my opinion, it’s like writing a blank check from taxpayers pockets. It’s one of my biggest concerns with the plan. Governor Pence also raised the eligibility from 100-138 percent of poverty. Our family would nearly qualify, and we live a comfortable life.

I think we’ll see an increase in emergency room visits to our already crowded emergency rooms. Doctors and nurses overworked and hospitals understaffed because Medicaid doesn’t pay well enough to employ a full staff of medical professionals. This is why our nursing homes are lobbying the lawmakers to stop private pay nursing homes from being built or licensed. If this trend continues, we’re looking at closing doctors offices and hospitals and a lower quality of care for everyone.

There are some who will disagree with my views such as  Grace-Marie Turner who also writes for Forbes.  She stated in an article entitled Gov. Pence’s Medicaid Transformation,

I see it as taking advantage of an opportunity to lay the groundwork for the kind of Medicaid reform that we must move toward in the future.  It would not be possible to rip out this program root and branch and replace it with a consumer directed model.  By winning approval of these changes through a Medicaid waiver, other governors have a much stronger platform to move toward other changes that will work for their states.

I am not against the original Healthy Indiana Plan. We have Hoosiers who desperately need the help. I also understand political realities. The expansion and the relaxing of the guidelines and stipulations is where I part.  It would take a lot of convincing for me to believe that removing the cap and raising the income guidelines is a good thing for Hoosiers.  It would take even more for me to be convinced that expanding Medicaid is the solution.

I understand and appreciate our Governor’s heart for the poor. I’ve seen it in several of his policies. His taxpayer preschool is another issue where he wears his heart on his sleeve.  He is a compassionate conservative, I get that. But feelings aside, it doesn’t change the fact that I just don’t agree that it is a GOOD thing to expand Medicaid and accept more federal dollars tied to more federal regulations!

At some point we have to tell Washington, “No thank you!” and figure out a way to support ourselves. I would continue to urge the governor to press forward and hack away at our dependence on the federal government.  I’d urge him to make Indiana the best it can be by decreasing regulations so that employers can provide more and better paying jobs. This will  to wean people away from the government trap instead of putting more of us under the care of the government whether it be local, state or federal.

Policy by policy bringing independence and strength to Indiana.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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