(Photo courtesy of Reuters.com)
MUNCIE, IN – Hidden this week by announcing new staff members (for a 2016 presidential push), Governor Mike Pence continues raising the bar on the poorest of Hoosiers.
As opposed to accepting the new federal health insurance program and expand Medicaid so 400,000 uninsured Hoosiers can have much-needed health insurance, Gov. Pence is preparing the press for an upcoming announcement on Healthy Indiana plans.
As we wrote in Muncie Voice several months ago, Gov. Pence refuses to expand Medicaid, like 23 other states.
To remind everyone, Indiana is among 24 states that rejected Medicaid expansion, even after the federal government agreed to pay 100 percent of health care costs for new participants through 2016. According to the Indiana Hospital Association, Pence’s refusal to expand Medicaid eligibility will cost the state $10 billion in federal health funds through 2020 that would have supported 30,000 jobs.
Why would a politician want to punish the poor, walk away from $10 billion in federal dollars, and refuse to expand high paying jobs?
More specifically, Gov. Pence is catering to a whole new breed of republicans hyped up by conservative talk radio and propaganda television. A base that responds to “Dog Whistle” political games.
Remember, the government, and more specifically, a democratic government, is portrayed as evil because it “steals from hard-working Americans” and gives to “lazy minorities”. However, anybody with a brain and calculator can easily dismiss these notions.
So, the voting base Gov. Pence is appealing to, actually applauds his efforts on “sticking it to the poor”.
In reality, this philosophy actually “sticks it” to all Hoosiers, including those who vote for Pence. Hospitals in this state have screamed at Pence since they are losing billions in revenue by treating patients in the emergency room who have no means to pay and lack insurance. Had Pence simply expanded Medicaid (free to the state since we are already paying for it), over 30,000 new high paying healthcare jobs would be needed within the health care industry to handle the extra insured population.
Again, this does not raise taxes on one single Hoosier since we already pay for Medicaid via payroll deductions. This is lost revenue.
Plus, with more people going to the doctors, their untreated illnesses will be cared for preventing costlier health procedures down the road.
And, Pence doesn’t seem to mind that he’s pouring salt in the wounds of the poor by making the financially insecure sign up for a high deductible plan with a health savings account (poor tax), since this excites his anti-government, anti-poor, political base even more.
None of this impacts the republican guard who surround him either. Just this week, as the Governor appointed Jim Atterholt, a veteran Statehouse insider, as his new chief of staff, he had this to say in the Northwest Times , “The governor has a heart for all Hoosiers and a well-deserved reputation for showing kindness to even those who may disagree.”
Sorry Jim, we know half a million Hoosiers and an entire healthcare industry who disagrees with your assessment. Obviously, Jim is great at telling the Governor what he wants to hear versus the truth.
However, this strategy may backfire as he sets his eyes on a presidential bid. Last we checked, the Tea Party lost favor in primary races across the nation. Playing “bash the poor” might not be the best strategy as we approach 2015 when it all comes down to attracting a wider base of voters.
With independent news outlets like Muncie Voice busting loose from the corporate owned lame street media, Americans are starting to get smarter and more informed about political strategy and how they’ve been duped for years. The mean-spirited, anti-government, bigoted, racially motivated groups will get smaller and smaller, and the more informed voters will look in other directions for candidates who work for all Americans, not those looking to stick it to a minority group.