For immediate release:
Feb. 8, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath from Michigan City said today that it is time for state lawmakers to begin debating legislation that will provide affordable health care for hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers.
Pelath said implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act in Indiana also will create thousands of good-paying jobs at a time when the state’s unemployment rate stubbornly lingers at the 8 percent mark.
As the Indiana General Assembly enters its sixth week, Pelath noted that legislators still had yet to debate any type of substantive job creation measure or proposals that will help the middle class. In the days to come, Pelath said his caucus would begin to press for debate and votes on measures that would make the Affordable Care Act a reality.
Pelath issued the following statement:
“We cannot wait another day to start debating the great issue of our time, which is the Affordable Care Act, and how do we cover every uninsured Hoosier in Indiana.
“The issue of the Affordable Care Act is settled. U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts—who is from Indiana—upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. President Obama—who created the program—was reelected. We are now in the phase where we make sure we full take care of this landmark legislation.
“There are three reasons why we need to implement this act in Indiana.
“The first is this is the biggest jobs measure we could possibly consider. Three of the top ten biggest employers in Indiana are IU Health, St. Vincent, and Sisters of St. Francis. There’s the potential for thousands of good-paying private sector jobs through this act. These are the kinds of jobs that can help you can raise a family.
“The second thing is that this act will help address the ongoing crush on the middle class that is created through medical expenses. These expenses help drive families into bankruptcy. We need to move boldly to end the days where the cost of health care causes families to lose homes.
“Finally, this will help reduce the crush that is caused from people being forced to use the emergency room as their first option in health care.
“We have yet to debate this issue so far this session, but that is going to end.
“In the House, we’re going to use every opportunity we can in committee and on the floor, not just to force votes, but to force discussion. If the other side believes they have better ideas, they need to start talking about them.
“House Democrats will pursue proposals that take advantage of our potential under the Medicaid program to make sure hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers are covered fully so they don’t have to go to the emergency room. We will make sure that Washington isn’t going to run our healthcare program.
“We’re going to make sure that Hoosiers are going to run it the way that’s best for Hoosiers, and we want to debate a statewide exchange for implementation of the Affordable Care Act and making sure that every Hoosier gets covered in a way that Hoosiers believe is important.
“The days of trivialities in the 2013 session need to end and the important work needs to begin.”