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September 9, 2013

HOWEY: Health care amidst the amber waves of grain

(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, nonprofit hospitals are required to deliver. Hayden described the Indiana social safety net that 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 United States 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.

— This columnist publishes at www.howeypolitics.com. Find him Twitter @hwypol.

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