Indiana’s Healthcare Fight and America

The May 28th edition of The Economist features a story on the fight for health care reform in Indiana, and includes quotes from Bush’s Man Mitch, State Sen. Luke Kenley, and Dr. Rob Stone.

On May 20, Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan (HCHP) (and Citizens Action Coalition, another fine organization) organized a statewide rally for universal healthcare at Monument Circle in downtown Indy. The Economist was among many media outlets that covered the event. (The Star’s coverage, however, was limited to the last graf in an article about the Wellpoint shareholders meeting[1], and an opinion piece[2] dated today.) That rally serves as the opening for The Economist’s nuanced story on the likelihood of healthcare reform in the US.

The Economist piece also includes a few few insights into how Hoosier politicians are playing into the healthcare fight. Rep. Baron Hill (IN-09) appears to be stalling on setting up a meeting between HCHP’s Dr. Rob Stone and the Blue Dog Coalition:

Mr Stone has run up small victories in the past year. In January the city council of New Albany, in the conservative southern part of the state, passed a resolution supporting a single-payer health plan. But Mr Stone has been unable to persuade many of the state’s senior Democratic politicians to endorse the idea. Baron Hill, a Democratic congressman who represents the southern part of the state, has sounded sympathetic, and has even invited Mr Stone to address the Blue Dogs caucus of fiscally conservative Democratic congressmen. But, to Mr Stone’s frustration, he has yet to set a date. Government-run health care is still anathema to many Americans. Mr Stone received a reminder of that the day before the rally; a vitriolic letter decrying “so many socialist if not communist [sic] working against the best social economic and progressive system in the world, capitalism.”

As co-chair for policy for the Blue Dogs, Baron Hill should be bringing this information to the group.

There’s also a great bit from State Senator/Budget Guru Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville):

Luke Kenley, an influential state senator from Indiana, sees a philosophical divide along generational lines. People over 50, such as himself, “have a great comfort level with the American free-enterprise system”, and recognise the current turmoil as the marketplace correcting its own previous excesses.

But his own grown-up children do not share that faith. His son John, a lawyer aged 38, suggests that “Reagan had a time and a place, but those messages don’t resonate.” The disaster in the housing and mortgage markets shows that free markets don’t always get incentives right or generate the information people need to make wise decisions. There may be times, he adds, when government is better suited to giving people the information they need.

The Economist also includes one of the most dubious (and unlikely) statements of all time, saying that Bush’s Man Mitch has a “has a more nuanced view” than Kenley. The quotation that follows is far from evidence of this, though, as Daniels basically restates what Kenley and Pew Research argued earlier in the piece.

I’m including the titles & authors of Star articles here, due to their tendency to abruptly move content into the archives ($$).

(1)”Reform talk dominates WellPoint meeting” Daniel Lee, May 21 2009

(2)”Health-care fight hits city streets” Fran Quigley, June 1 2009