News and Tribune

January 15, 2014


Health care is a moral issue

I was very disappointed to read portions of Ron Grooms’ constituent survey, particularly his question about expanding Medicaid in Indiana.

Push-polling is always frustrating, as it forces constituents into a position and is asked in a way that fails to address the heart of an issue. An honest question would be the one asked by fellow Republican Sen. Vaneta Becker from Evansville: “About 850,000 Hoosiers do not have health insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act, Indiana can expand Medicaid to cover more Hoosiers and the federal government will pay most of the cost. Do you support or oppose expanding Medicaid?”

I carry the opposite view of Sen. Grooms, who seems to think that health care is only a financial question and not a moral one. In that light, I offer some alternative “push-polling” questions of my own.

• “Should Indiana continue to deny pregnant women and fetuses prenatal care thus ensuring that we continue to have one of the worst infant mortality rates in the United States?”

• “Should we continue a common insurance practice of excluding maternal health as we are currently doing in the Healthy Indiana Program for low income families?

• “Should we protect our budget surpluses and let hospital emergency rooms and residents carrying health care insurance pick up the full expense of treating the 850,000 Hoosiers without health care coverage?”

• “Indiana has a general health ranking of 41st in the country. Knowing that a healthy work force attracts business investors should we try to improve the health of our workforce by expanding Medicaid?”

We should not be angry that as many as one in four Hoosiers would enroll in an expanded Medicaid program. We should be appalled that 25 percent of the residents of Indiana — many of whom are working more than one job to make ends meet — do not have adequate health care coverage. It is the single most important moral issue for the current legislative session.

— Susan Ryan, Floyds Knobs