Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Opinion

September 10, 2013

MAUREEN HAYDEN: Hoosiers have access, but health is not so good

Safety net for ill, uninsured a tattered one

In the war over the Affordable Care Act, Gov. Mike Pence won a policy victory when the Obama adminis-tration gave him a temporary pass to continue with the Healthy Indiana Plan, a high-deductible health insurance program that covers just 37,000 low-income Hoosiers.

The reprieve came on the condition that the state continues to consider its coverage options for another 300,000 uninsured Hoosiers — mostly the working poor — who’ve been left out in the cold by Pence’s decision not to expand traditional Medicaid coverage, as 25 other states have opted to do under the ACA.

During a press conference to announce the decision, Pence called it a “victory for Hoosiers” enrolled in the program (which has a waiting list of 55,000) as reporters questioned him about other Hoosiers without health insurance.

Pence’s response was to say there was a “broad range of services” available to uninsured Hoosiers, from public clinics to hospital charity care. “Let’s make sure there is a distinction in the language between health insurance and health care,” he said. “Every person in this state has the ability, if they are struggling with illness, to walk into an emergency room and receive care.”

Actually, according to the Indiana Hospital Association, about 2.7 million people walk (or otherwise are transported) into emergency rooms in Indiana hospitals every year, many because they have no place else to go.

Pence’s call for hospitals to step up ignores the fact they already have stepped up. According the Indiana Hospital Association, Indiana’s hospitals eat about $3 billion a year delivering uncompensated care to people who can’t pay their hospital bills. About $1.7 billion of that was the “charity care” that, by Indiana law, non-profit hospitals are required to deliver.

The hospitals don’t absorb all those lost dollars. Those of us with insurance do, said Linda White, president of Deaconess Health Systems in southwest Indiana, where 1 out of every 4 emergency room patients can’t afford to pay their medical bills. “Those costs are shifted to the people who can pay,” White said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • OPN - KT082014 - king What Fergusonsays about us Aug. 9 is a day that Americans lost sight of themselves. It is the day Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black teenager of Ferguson, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, was shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. That evening, and for all but o

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Letters to the editor Congrats on wind farm defeat Congratulations to the citizens of Kokomo and Howard County! Your officials have done you a great favor by stopping any further considerations for construction of industrial wind turbines in your area. Now, if the fede

    August 20, 2014

  • Cleaning up voter rolls Citizens should expect the voting process for electing government representatives at all levels to be efficient and of the highest integrity. Indiana's system in recent years has at times been manipulated for political purposes -- the voter ID system

    August 20, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: First Amendment assault in Ferguson

    Of all the outrageous and disturbing story lines emanating from Ferguson, Missouri, since unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown was shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, the targeting of journalists during the ensuing protests ranks among the most troubling.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Moped law long overdue We’ve all seen them on the streets, and their popularity is only growing. Mopeds have coasted in a legal grey area for years in Indiana. A lack of registration, testing and licensure allowed those without other means of transport to join other vehicl

    August 19, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Craft brewers and vintners returned sprits to Indiana State Fair Brad Hawkins felt right at home hawking his beer at the Indiana State Fairgrounds last week.When Hawkins opened his Salt Creek Brewery in a converted filling station in tiny Needmore three years ago, some tee-totaling neighbors protested he was putti

    August 19, 2014

  • LETTERS: Support Connie Brown; wind agreement termination Connie Brown for county clerkConnie Brown is an excellent person to serve as county clerk. She is kind, generous, and dedicated to what she does. Having served with her on the Stonybrook Board for six years, I have come to know her and respect her ta

    August 19, 2014

  • Indiana budget woes put new focus on 'reversions' When is a budget cut not a cut? In Indiana, it’s when it’s a reversion.Budget cuts, via reversions, were at the center of a pair of big decisions last week, putting the tactic used by both Democratic and Republican governors in the spotlight.State Bu

    August 19, 2014

  • How to care for our children and their children INDIANAPOLIS – Let’s ponder “our children” and “their children.”First, Gov. Mike Pence made a wise call this past week when he ordered the Department of Child Services to begin reimbursing families who had adopted special needs children.A class actio

    August 18, 2014

  • Aug. 18: Letters to the Editor Sick of allthe wind talkI am going to rant a bit. I am sick and tired of opening up the paper and there is another letter about windmills. We have so much going on in the world. We have children getting beheaded, presidents always on vacation, an eco

    August 18, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape Texas Gov. Perry: Indictment 'a Political Act' US Officials: Video Shows American's Beheading Video Shows Ferguson Cop Months Before Shooting Water Bottles Recalled for Safety Researcher Testing On-Field Concussion Scanners
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll