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January 1, 2014

Readers’ Forum: Jan. 2, 2014

Pence should seek ideas from nearby states

Gov. Mike Pence keeps saying he wants to eliminate the business personal property tax in Indiana, and says a big reason is because surrounding states don’t have it. Gov. Pence should look for different lessons from other states, not just this one he apparently hopes will help build his tax-cutter reputation.

Look at any of the surrounding states for a lesson on Medicaid expansion. Two Democratic and two Republican governors, all chose to accept the Medicaid expansion so hundreds of thousands of their residents, mainly working poor, would get health insurance.

Republican Gov. Kasich in Ohio had to go around his own legislature to do it, and cited the chance to bring money back to Ohio as the biggest reason, while also mentioning his faith motivating him to help those less fortunate.

Gov. Pence said no, leaving hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers without Medicaid, limited as it is, to fend for themselves. Instead, Gov. Pence got approval to expand an Indiana plan that at best can only reach a fraction of the people in need. Gov. Pence said people without insurance can “go to the emergency room” when they need health care, which has hospitals bearing some of the cost and everyone else paying the rest of it, after already paying federal taxes to fund the Medicaid expansion he refused.

He could even look at Kentucky for a lesson on creating a health care exchange. Their system has worked very well. Did Gov. Pence hope the federal exchange would fail (granted, it nearly did)? Did he doubt Indiana could create an exchange that would work? If Kentucky could do it, why not Indiana?

It’s good to look to other states for success stories and lessons when designing policies for Indiana. Gov. Pence should learn from examples of other states basing policies on what’s best for their residents, not on ideology.

— Mark Spelbring

Rockville

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