It begs the question for the Indiana GOP: Now what?
Bosma observed, “This debacle needs to shake out a little bit. I know there is federal money being dangled out there. I know there are people without insurance we have to address, but this needs to be thoughtful, it needs to be foresightful, we need to understand the consequences fully before we jump in.”
Long acknowledged that the “uninsured is a problem,” but said a traditional Medicaid expansion would cost the state $2 billion. “That’s a guaranteed tax increase for everyone in this room,” he said.
This places the Indiana Republican Party at a crossroads, balancing the cost of a healthier population with the economic benefits it would bring. This is a state with a huge and growing prison population that is opposite national trends, finds citizens paying vastly higher sewer bills than previous generations because it neglected to fix the problem decades ago, and has an unhealthy population because it did not adequately invest in nutrition, early education, health care and insurance access.
Indiana policymakers are facing the same “pay me now or pay me later” dilemma.
With such a poor historical track record, the development of a comprehensive health strategy should be a compelling notion up for vigorous debate.
Brian Howey publishes at www.howeypolitics.com.