MUNCIE, Indiana (
NEWS) – In case you haven’t noticed, Governor Mike Pence is on a speaking tour, but he’s only “listening to others” about a potential 2016 presidential race. However, we get the feeling those who are asking about it, or talking about it, are being spoon fed by his public relations staff, and they all need a dose of reality.
He recently returned from a self-congratulatory tour claiming to be the first governor/state to reject Common Core, only to return eating crow as education experts called him out for simply rebranding Common Core as Indiana’s own standards.
Now he’s being told, and is telling others, that he is an “innovator” of conservative health care proposals which will fix Medicaid. A program that will restore “dignity to the poor”. Someone within his inner circle has convinced him that his healthcare proposal, or HIP 2.0, is his chance to separate himself from other presidential candidates.
Bottom line, he wants the federal dollars while spinning his own version of Obamacare within our state. While he once loudly proclaimed that mandating Hoosiers do anything was violating their freedom, now when he does it, it’s “restoring their dignity”.
Before we go ahead, let’s step back and take a look at our former Hoosier congressman’s record on healthcare. In 2010 while campaigning to become governor, he wrote a letter to then Governor Mitch Daniels. Here is an excerpt:
As you are aware, I opposed the Affordable Care Act and believe it must be repealed. It erodes the freedom of every American, opening the door for the federal government to legislate, regulate and mandate nearly every aspect of our daily lives under the guise of its taxing power. It is not merely a government takeover of health care, but, as the Supreme Court recently concluded, it is a massive tax increase on Hoosiers and small business owners.
The “massive tax increase” which Pence and other conservatives jumped on, was SCOTUS’s 2010 ruling that the personal mandate within the Affordable Care Act was a tax imposed by the government. Conservatives were hoping SCOTUS would rule the mandate unconstitutional.
Never mind the well-known fact, the conservative think-tank, Heritage Foundation, was behind the concept of having “skin in the game” by people to show “personal responsibility” for their own health care.
Never mind the fact, 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney used the same conservative concept for his own health insurance program in Massachusetts (Romneycare). Mike Pence and his fellow Tea Partiers made frequent appearances on Fox News calling the personal mandate, “A massive tax increase and assault on our personal freedoms”.
A little over three years later, Pence is showing the nation just how flexible he is as governor.
He is proposing a plan which allows him to accept federal Medicaid dollars, but asks the poorest of the poor to pay into a POWER savings account or risk losing benefits. It’s not even splitting hairs or semantics – it’s a state mandate forcing poor people to pay toward their health insurance.
The conservative think-tank, Heritage Foundation, called it a personal mandate. Governor Mitt Romney called it a personal mandate. Barack Obama called it a personal mandate. The Supreme Court of the United States branded it a tax in 2010. Mike Pence and every conservative we’ve listened to since has called it a tax. Every conservative talk show host and news anchor calls it a tax.
But, what does Governor Mike Pence call it in 2014? A “contribution”.
Forbes magazine op/ed writer, Grace-Marie Turner writes:
The Healthy Indiana Plan relies on individual responsibility by requiring participants to contribute to a Personal Wellness and Responsibility (POWER) account that works like a health savings account. The account is used to pay for routine health bills before triggering catastrophic coverage, which even in the original plan was funded through Medicaid.
It reads like a ‘personal mandate’ to me.
Read carefully how Grace-Marie spins it into a Hoosier value-driven statement – she writes, “Conservatives could consider the Healthy Indiana Plan to be our pilot project for transformation of Medicaid to give people the ‘dignity’ of private coverage going forward.”
Hey Grace-Marie, guess what, he’s wanting to collect the evil Federal dollars which his Tea Party caucus opposes, and 2 years ago he was on Fox News touting, “We must repeal Obamacare because it violates our freedoms by mandating Americans buy healthcare insurance.”
I’m not sure but something tells us Pence will be returning from his speaking tour with a busload of crow to eat. He’s wanting access to the federal Medicaid dollars which is taboo for the Tea Party, and he’s calling himself an innovator, when all he is doing is rebranding Obamacare, but in this case, he’s forcing the Hoosier poor to give dollars toward a health savings account. They can’t even buy food with the few hundred dollars they live on each month, but Pence wants to force them into contributing toward a savings account to ‘restore their dignity’.
Governor Pence needs to surround himself with more capable public relations staff if he is seriously wanting to be president of the U.S.A. These delusions of grandeur will leave him more frustrated than satisfied.