Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

September 9, 2013

BRIAN HOWEY: Health care amidst the amber waves of grain

State leaders have some soul-searching to do.

(Continued)

According to a 2011 study by the Indiana Hospital Association, Indiana’s hospitals “ate” about $3 billion delivering uncompensated care to people who couldn’t pay their hospital bills (those with coverage pay for that). About $1.7 billion of that was the “charity care” that, by Indiana law, non-profit hospitals are required to deliver. Hayden described the Indiana safety net Gov. Pence wants to rely on if Medicaid isn’t expanded under HIP as “tattered.”

When I asked Gov. Pence about weighing these factors, he responded, “For Indiana, our fiscal integrity is the foundation of our prosperity.”

Add on top of this the state’s high obesity and smoking rates, the thousand meth labs police have busted so far this year (involving 300 kids), and that 13.5 percent of our households are “food insecure,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the picture we see isn’t that of the “amber waves of grain” Gov. Pence once talked about on his statewide radio show.

Indiana is an unhealthy state. Its people are under duress.

Our leaders have much soul-searching to do in the coming months.

Brian Howey publishes at www.howeypolitics.com. Find him on Twitter @hwypol.

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