Fleming asks governor to push for bigger contribution from health insurers on vaccination efforts

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INDIANAPOLIS — State Representative Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville) sent a letter yesterday to the governor and lieutenant governor, asking them to support her resolution urging health insurance companies to donate part of their profit toward COVID-19 vaccination efforts. The resolution has support on both sides of the aisle.

“The COVID-19 vaccination effort in Indiana has been as expedient and efficacious as the supply would allow,” Fleming said. “However, the burden has fallen to health care professionals and volunteers to meet this challenge, and they are overtaxed, often working overtime to test and vaccinate.”

Almost 20% of Indiana’s population has at least one dose and almost 13% of Hoosiers are fully vaccinated. Funds are still needed for personal protective equipment, community outreach and education, vaccination clinics and storage capacity to house vaccines. 

“If the health insurers would do their part, then we can safely open, and Indiana will be back in business,” Fleming said. “After all, jump-starting Indiana’s economy would be the most important thing that we could do to move forward as a state.”

Fleming has been in discussion with Eric Yazel, Clark County Health Officer, regarding the most efficient way to facilitate the vaccine rollout in Indiana. Yazel also sent a letter to the governor requesting that he consider the resolution.

“We have been fighting on the frontlines for months,” Yazel said. “We simply ask for support from those who have profited from our efforts the most to provide an essential service for our community.”

While the pandemic has exhausted local resources and government funds, health insurers have profited. Ultimately, health insurers are expected to benefit from supporting vaccination programs because insured individuals who have been vaccinated are expected to need less health care in the future.

Read the full letters from both State Representative Rita Fleming and Eric Yazel, Clark County Health Officer, below:

 


 

March 16, 2021

The Honorable Eric Holcomb
Governor of Indiana
200 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

Dear Governor Holcomb,

This past year has presented Hoosiers with unprecedented and unpredictable challenges. I am grateful that you consistently kept the health of our citizens as a priority in your decision-making.

The COVID-19 vaccination effort in Indiana has been as expedient and efficacious as the supply would allow. I am proud of the health care professionals and volunteers in my community who have worked tirelessly to meet this challenge. However, providers in local departments of health are overtaxed and tired, often working overtime to test and vaccination. Providers and volunteers need more funding for personal protective equipment (PPE), community outreach and education, vaccination clinics, and storage capacity to house vaccines. A surge in funding is needed to ensure that those desiring, but not yet qualifying for the vaccine (which is still a majority), receive it.

I ask that you publicly support House Resolution (H.R.) 11, which urges health insurers to donate some of their massive profits in 2020 to help Indiana reach the finish line in COVID-19 vaccinations. Here in Clark County, my Health Department Officer could supply to you the amount of funding that would be necessary to enable the effective and efficient distribution of vaccines to the remainder of our citizens.

If the health insurers would do their part, then we can safely open, and Indiana will be back in business. After all, jump starting Indiana’s economy would be the most important thing that we could do to move forward as a state. 

Sincerely, 

Rita Fleming, M.D.
State Representative
Indiana House District 71

 


 

March 10, 2021

The Honorable Eric Holcomb
Governor of Indiana
200 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

Dear Governor Holcomb,

I have recently been in discussion with Rep. Rita Fleming regarding efficient, cost-effective ways to facilitate the vaccine rollout in Indiana.

As COVID-19 approaches the one-year mark in our state, it has been extremely taxing on local resources. I have an amazing group of team members at our Health Department who have stepped up time and time again, nights, weekends, and anything else asked of them. Our county is filled with wonderful citizens ready to step up and volunteer at a moment’s notice. That being said, it is simply not enough. We need funding support to bring our citizens the vaccine they so desperately need for their physical health, mental health, and the economic health of our community.

Every Hoosier has been affected by COVID-19. There is one industry however, that has been relatively spared in the pandemic: the health insurance industry. Due to a lack of availability and utilization of routine procedures, testing, and numerous other factors as a direct result of COVID-19, health insurers have enjoyed record profits.

We certainly respect the right to earn a profit and understand a financially vigorous health insurance environment is good for the overall healthcare industry in our state. What we do ask is that the healthcare industry simply act as a good community partner and provide funding support to our vaccination efforts. The more expeditiously our population is vaccinated, the sooner Hoosiers can get back to all the daily activities that make our state great, which should be a goal of every industry of Indiana regardless of the sector. Please highly consider the resolution asking health insurers to assist in our public health departments with their vaccination efforts.

We have been fighting on the frontlines for months, we simply ask for support from those who have profited from our efforts the most to provide an essential service for our community. It’s the right thing to do.

Respectfully,

Eric Yazel, MD
Clark County Health Officer

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