Op-Ed: Indiana Healthcare

March 27, 2017

by Cmdr. John Pickerill

Well, our Indiana Republicans broke another promise. This time it’s their support for repeal and replacement of Obamacare with a free-market solution. The Indiana Republican platform promises, “We believe healthcare decisions should be made by patients, in consultation with their personal physician — not government bureaucrats. We support our Congressional delegation’s continued efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.”

Despite that, if you can believe Howey Politics, the top Republicans in the General Assembly recently suggested they don’t want Obamacare repealed:

“Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Long and House Speaker Brian Bosma both warned that the repeal of Obamacare could boot up to 420,000 Hoosiers off the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP 2.0). ‘If they go back … that’s going to have to cause us to recalibrate HIP 2.0. There’s no question about it,’ Long said on Wednesday of President Trump and congressional Republicans plans to repeal Obamacare. ‘The number of people on the program that could be affected? We really don’t know what we’re facing right now.’ Bosma told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, ‘We’ll have to re-evaluate the HIP 2.0 program and the number of clients it serves, the state’s support for it. I’m not saying it would go away, but certainly a major portion of the funding for that is no longer available. So we’ll have to take a hard look at the program.’”

Bosma and Long may have forgotten that it is the free market that will deliver the highest quality healthcare for the most affordable price to the largest number of people, that individuals have the right to make their own healthcare decisions, including for how much or how little health insurance they are willing to pay, that the government has no legitimate authority to force an individual to buy health insurance, that it strangles economic recovery to force a business to provide health insurance at the expense of laying off employees to pay for it. Have they may have forgotten how many middle-class Hoosiers haven’t seen a raise in their paychecks in almost a decade — at a time when their health-insurance premiums have doubled or worse.

They ignore the two million working Hoosiers whom their policy position hurts. They support robbing Peter to pay Paul because they know they can count on Paul’s political support. It is time to right this wrong. There are free-market solutions on the table that the Statehouse leadership could apply right now.

Sen. Rand Paul, a physician, has a plan that could be applied at the state level to lower the original cost of healthcare. It eliminates the individual mandate, eliminates mandated one-size-fits-all insurance coverage, allows buying health insurance across state lines, is based on a Health Savings Account (HSA) system, gives $5,000 tax credits to fund those HSAs for the needy and allows young people to stay on their parent’s insurance plans. Indiana could follow this philosophy with its state HIP, basing it more on a free market via HSA and less on expanding Medicaid subsidies.

Raising gas taxes, enacting spending increases, expanding government programs, killing gun-rights bills, killing pro-life bills and now supporting Obamacare — could a Democrat takeover of the Indiana Republican Party’s policy agenda be more complete?

John Pickerill, past chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party, wrote this for the Indiana Policy Review Foundation. A graduate of Purdue University and the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program, Pickerill retired from the U.S. Navy with the rank of Commander.


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