How will Congressman Messer address health care, opioids in campaign kickoff?

INDIANAPOLIS – As Congressman Messer kicks off his U.S. Senate campaign tomorrow, he’ll be trying to hide his woeful record from voters of trying to take away health care from Hoosiers and failing to address the opioid crisis that has devastated his district.

Congressman Messer will formally kick off his campaign with a rally tomorrow at an event in Morristown, two and a half weeks after he officially announced his candidacy for Senate via a tweet. Congressman Messer’s address will likely include plenty of red meat, and potentially some allusion to his ongoing war of words with Congressman Rokita, but it’s unclear how much policy will ultimately make it into the speech.

While it’s likely that Congressman Messer will tout his support for the House Republican health care overhaul, he’s rarely addressed what would happen to the nearly 40,000 Hoosiers who would lose their insurance in his district under the legislation, or how he’d help Hoosiers whose premiums would increase by thousands of dollars a year if the bill became law. Nor is it apparent if he’ll say that he’d be willing to work in a bipartisan fashion to shore up the individual markets and prevent Hoosiers from facing double digit health care premium increases next year, as Joe Donnelly is trying to do.

Few congressional districts in the country have been hit harder by the scourge of opioid addiction than Congressman Messer’s, which includes the town of Austin in Scott County. Yet Congressman Messer is also unlikely to present a rationale for why his weak record on the issue qualifies him to represent the entire state. Congressman Messer’s response to the Scott County HIV outbreak would be described as tepid at best, and in his vote for the Republican health care bill, he voted for roughly $800 billion in Medicaid cuts that would have gutted crucial programs to help combat addiction to opioids and other drugs.

“Hoosiers deserve honesty from their candidates, and if Congressman Messer wants to run for Senate, he ought to be prepared to have a frank conversation with Hoosiers on the issues that matter to them,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Will Congressman Messer defend his choices to strip health care from Hoosiers and abandon families harmed by the scourge of the opioid crisis? Or will he settle for his partisan talking points?”

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