It’s hard enough when 76% of ALL Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, but Gov. Mike Pence wants to increase taxes on poor people, or as he puts it, “have skin in the game”, when it comes to their health and wellness needs. I guess the idea is if you pay a forced tax into a savings account instead of buying food, then you’ll be more inclined to be healthier. And, he’s like to go to Washington to seek permission to do this.
Pence wrote a letter requesting to meet with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to go through outstanding issues with Indiana’s health insurance expansion. Pence wants to avoid expanding Medicaid for Hoosiers which pays for all health related expenses. Expanding Medicaid is a requirement under the ACA law for states, but Indiana was granted a one year waiver so we can explore options with Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP). HIP is capped out for the state leaving hundreds of thousands without insurance in Indiana.
The “skin” Pence is referring to is a health savings account linked with Indiana’s Healthy Indiana Plan which only covers around 40,000 Hoosiers. The “skin in the game” is the same republican concept referred to as the “individual mandate” in the Affordable Care Act which the Supreme Court ruled as “a tax” causing the entire republican party, through the help of their right-wing news media propaganda machine, to go on a year-long assault telling Americans, “Obama is taking away your rights and freedom by forcing you to buy insurance” and “Obama is forcing a tax on the Middle Class”.
What the right-wing conservative media failed to tell viewers was the “individual mandate” or “skin in the game” came from the right-wing conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation, and was used as the essential part of RomneyCare in Massachusetts, and was also forced upon ObamaCare.
However, in Indiana, the republicans and Pence take it one step farther by asking those living in poverty should also be mandated to give toward their health care. What Pence and his counterparts fail to grasp is if working Americans can’t save money, how can you expect those in poverty to save money? Pence is forcing them to choose between health care or food, and since the same republicans keep cutting food stamps, it’s getting even more desperate.
A CNN Money financial survey confirms what most people already know, but Pence and his ideological billionaire supporters don’t seem to get it – “After paying debts and taking care of housing, car and child care-related expenses, the respondents said there just isn’t enough money left over for saving more.”
In addition, since Pence has refused to expand Medicaid, those making slightly above poverty levels, don’t qualify for federal tax credits so they have to pay full price for health insurance premiums.
Hoosier republicans keep denying there is a “War on the Poor”, but their policy making decisions indicate otherwise.