INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Holcomb’s office has refused to release crucial details about the effects of the Republican health care overhaul on Indiana, despite requests from both the Indiana press corps and the state’s senior U.S. Senator.
According to reports in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette Friday, the governor’s office has conducted estimates for Indiana on the Republican health care overhaul the Senate is currently considering, including how much the state’s popular HIP 2.0 program will suffer due to the bill’s hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicaid cuts. The governor’s office refused to release the analysis, however, even as Hoosier families and small businesses seek as much advance warning of the bill’s impact as possible.
The state’s unwillingness to disclose the information in the press comes just days after Governor Holcomb declined a request to send the state’s analysis of the bill to Joe Donnelly, who asked for the information so he could make as informed a vote on the legislation as possible. In his response to Joe, Governor Holcomb refused the request because “provisions in the bill change daily.” However, as the Journal Gazette notes, the Senate came within 24 hours of voting on the bill that was introduced in the chamber several days after the request was made to the Governor—and while multiple changes to the bill have now been proposed, no amendments have been made yet, two weeks later.
Other states have also produced their own analyses of the bill’s impact, but many have also chosen to release theirs. States with governors from both parties, including Governor Kasich of Ohio and Governor Sandoval of Nevada, have disclosed their own reports detailing the grisly effects the overhaul would have on their own state. National studies from the Congressional Budget Office have suggested that 22 million Americans would lose their health care, while additional reports specify that 270,000 Hoosiers would be stripped of their care under the proposal.
Until Governor Holcomb’s office releases its own study, Hoosiers will continue to wonder what their state’s analysis says and why they can’t access it. While Governor Holcomb has not come out definitively for or against the Senate proposal, he’s given hints he views it positively, including supporting similar legislation in the House. The Journal Gazette has proposed that the reason Governor Holcomb failed to release Indiana’s analysis is because “releasing the numbers could arguably put more pressure on Indiana congressmen and ultimately work against the bill being pushed by Vice President Mike Pence.”
“While Republicans try to force through a health care overhaul that will have a major impact on one-sixth of the economy and millions of Hoosiers, Indiana’s elected officials need as much information as possible about the bill’s effects to make a decision. Keeping crucial information from Hoosiers, especially if it’s being hidden for political purposes, is a dereliction of duty,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Indiana Democratic Party spokesman. “Unless Governor Holcomb releases the state’s internal analysis, Hoosiers must assume that he knows the Republican health care overhaul will be even worse for our state than previously thought.”