Members of the House Democratic Caucus express concerns over healthcare funding

March 16, 2017 Scott Pelath

For immediate release:
March 16, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – Below is the text of a letter from members of the Indiana House Democratic Caucus to Indiana’s congressional delegation registering concerns over the healthcare “reforms” now being discussed at the national level:

We write with deep concerns regarding the introduced American Health Care Act, proposed by House Republicans and President Trump.

We understand that some have engaged in healthcare politics during the last few election cycles, but now is a critical time for sober minds and careful approaches to public policy. It is time for the outcomes to support rhetoric.

Specifically, we have immediate concerns that a fast-tracked bill will negatively impact at least 403,142 Hoosiers of our state, or approximately 6 percent of our population, who currently receive their healthcare through Vice President Pence’s HIP 2.0. Further, there are always unintended consequences of adopting massive changes to the healthcare of our mutual constituents, as has been indicated with the fiscal impact score produced by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

Most people, including members of Congress, have not even had a chance to read the bill, a fact of which you may be personally aware. After all, this bill was introduced last week, and has already been voted upon by one committee in the House after late-night hearings. Sadly, the potential impact of this quick adoption could cause deep uncertainty for seniors receiving Medicare, insurers providing coverage, and hospitals giving service.

This bill could recklessly jeopardize the health and safety of the people of Indiana and force an unfunded shortfall of at least $16.5 billion in our state budget. Therefore, it is necessary to slow consideration of this legislation until we can fully understand the impact it will have on the citizens of Indiana. Here in our General Assembly, as some of you may recall from prior service at the Statehouse, every bill is given ample time for legislative review after scoring by our non-partisan research agency.

More importantly, every elected official from the courthouse to the Statehouse has heard repeatedly from enraged citizens who expect representatives to read all legislation, allow time for full public review and analysis, and then allow a healthy public discussion of the implications on hard-working Hoosiers. Our legislators also return to their districts every weekend and host robust town hall discussions with their constituents on issues that pale in comparison to this very one you are considering.

The results of this bill could be dire to many of our people. We have met few Hoosiers who want to lose their healthcare coverage, see Medicare slashed, endure healthcare job losses, or see family members suffer needlessly. This is why significant groups representing physicians, hospitals, and seniors–including the AARP–are vociferously asking you to slow down and go no further until you fully understand a new round of wholesale healthcare changes.

Our state merits serious answers on this bill’s impact on HIP coverage and other important facets of current healthcare policy. We would hope that Vice President Pence, not long removed from our state, would be the first person in Washington D.C. to understand the serious implications that could threaten this landmark of our state’s healthcare policy. Regardless, we know that every official from our state has an ability to do the right thing by our citizens.

We encourage you to consult a bipartisan group of Indiana lawmakers here in your state about these concerns. Please call on us at any time if we might be of help to you in this pending crisis as you consider the important decisions.