Senate Democrat Leader Vi Simpson (D-Ellettsville) released the following statement in response to the Indiana Attorney General’s announcement that the state will be joining a legal challenge to the recently passed national health care law.
“This comes at a time when the state is in the position of making some very serious budget cuts for public schools and for our universities. Even yesterday there was an announcement made that we are going to cut further services to foster children with special needs. There is great irony during this time in our state’s history that we are going to be wasting taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit that most legal authorities believe is pretty hopeless and some have even called it frivolous. We need that money to provide services to people and to educate our children.
“If the Attorney General wants to do something important for the people of Indiana, it seems like he ought to be spending his time and his resources on collecting the $200 million that we are owed from IBM and the contract that they had with the state to provide FSSA services. They failed in providing those services and the contract is null and void, therefore they should repay all of the money that has been paid to them. The Attorney General should be pursuing that, which would be a real asset for the taxpayers of the state instead of wasting time and resources on this.
“I would ask the Attorney General, which parts of the health care plan do you really want to do away with? Is it the expansion of healthcare access for 700,000 people in Indiana or is it the regulation of insurance companies that you object to?”
Listen to the full audio of Senator Simpson’s statement:
Listen to an audio clip of her statement regarding the state’s fiscal condition:
Listen to an audio clip of her statement regarding the IBM contract:
Today’s inaction in the Senate prevented Senate Democrats from introducing a package of amendments aimed at limiting dramatic health insurance rate hikes. House Bill 1240 was not called for 2nd reading preventing introduction of the amendments on the Senate floor on the last day for such action.
Similar provisions were discussed in the House of Representatives today. There is a possibility that these ideas can be revived in another bill during final negotiations (conference committees) next week.
Senate Democrats look forward to working with their colleagues across the aisle and in the House to protect Hoosier consumers.
Today look for Senate Democrats to push for greater consumer protection from health insurance increases for Indiana residents. A package of amendments to House Bill 1240 is expected to strengthen the state’s regulation of health insurance rate increases, establish a statutory standard for cents on the dollar spent for medical benefits instead of profits, and expand public notice process for premium hikes.
Require the Indiana Department of Insurance to publish the percentage of premium dollars spent on medical benefits vs. administration and profits under each plan. Read Amendment 1240-10 >
Adopt a public hearing process through the Indiana Department of Insurance and require a 60 day notice to consumers before a rate increase takes place. Read Amendment 1240-5 >
Earlier this week Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a new government report calling for health insurance reform and increased federal oversight saying that the increased health insurance premium rates are likely to continue. Read the full story > At the same time, national attention has been drawn to health insurance rate increases by Indianapolis-based company WellPoint. Today WellPoint CEO Angela Braly will testify before a congressional committee in D.C. Read the full story from the Indy Star >
Sen. Errington said, “Balancing Indiana’s long-term care system by expanding access to home and community based services makes sense for the individual and for the state. Home is where most people want to be if they don’t need the round-the-clock skilled nursing services of a nursing home. It makes sense for the state because Medicaid dollars can support nearly three people with home and community based services for every one person cared for in a nursing home.