Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 18, 2012

Public Eye: Nov. 18, 2012

By Scott Smith and Ken de la Bastide
Tribune columnists

OK, you do it

Even before he takes over for Mitch Daniels, Gov.-elect Mike Pence is having a major impact on the state.

Thursday, Pence decided to allow the federal government to set up and run a health insurance exchange in Indiana, forgoing the option of having the state set up and run the exchange.

One way or another, per the Affordable Care Act, uninsured Hoosiers will be given the opportunity to purchase health insurance through mandated exchanges. Either the feds can run the exchange, or the state can. Or the state can form a “partnership” with the feds. Pence said he’s against both the state-run and partnership options.

“Without knowing more details on the cost and nature of state-based exchanges, it is possible that our state could be placed in the untenable position of serving as the administrator of a new federal healthcare bureaucracy over which we have little control,” Pence said in a press statement.

Critics were quick to point out that the only way the state might have any control whatsoever is to take over the exchange, but Pence pointed out that running the exchange might cost the state $50 million a year, with “no evidence that such an exchange would benefit Hoosiers, give us significantly more control over our healthcare choices or lower the cost of insurance premiums.”

Lafayette attorney Doug Masson (http://twitter.com/dougmasson) noted Pence’s ideological

quandary.

“This might not be a bad thing, policy-wise, but choosing increased federal control is a departure from Pence’s stated philosophy about wanting to reduce the federal government,” Masson wrote in his blog.

 

Quite a difference

Two years ago, Republican Richard Mourdock was the top vote-getter in Howard County during his campaign for Indiana state treasurer.

Mourdock was in the midst of his lawsuit challenging the managed bankruptcy of Chrysler and General Motors and it was attracting a lot of attention in the Hoosier State and across the nation in 2010.

Based on the strength of that campaign, Mourdock aligned himself with the Indiana Tea Party organization and successfully challenged incumbent Richard Lugar in the May primary for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Pitted in a close race against Democrat Joe Donnelly, Mourdock watched his chances disappear with comments he made on rape and abortion during the final debate. Mourdock lost to Donnelly in Howard County by a margin of 49 percent to 44 percent, respectively.

 

Good year for GOP

The three central Indiana counties of Howard, Miami and Tipton overwhelmingly supported the Republican Party candidates for federal, state and county offices.

In Howard County the GOP organization delivered the votes in 19 of the 21 races, many of which were uncontested at the local level. The only GOP candidates not to carry the county were Mourdock and Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Tony Bennett.

The Republican organization in Miami County delivered the votes in all 17 contests. Republicans won 13 of the 14 races in Tipton County, only losing Bennett’s race.

With no election cycle in 2013 it would be save to assume that the Democratic Party in all three counties will be attempting to reorganize in an effort to come up with the right strategy to make a stronger showing in 2014.