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Monday, June 24
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

'HIP' replacement

Health care is a human right.

Don’t just take my word for it. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes access to medical care as one of the “equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.” Drafted more than 60 years ago by representatives from China to Chile, the U.S. to the U.K. to the U.S.S.R., the UDHR is the foundation of international human rights law. The resolution was drafted and championed by Eleanor Roosevelt — hero, icon, goddess.

Health care is a human right, but even after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, 350,000 Hoosiers remain uninsured.

After Gov. Mike Pence’s unsuccessful Monday meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell , it’s likely that most uninsured Hoosiers will stay that way.

Pence is currently in negotiations with the federal government to expand health care access under the Affordable Care Act. Instead of accepting federal money to expand Indiana Medicaid, though, Pence wants to launch the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0.

It’s not that Pence doesn’t care about the uninsured. He just cares about his political capital more.

Had Pence accepted this money to expand traditional Medicaid earlier, those 350,000 Hoosiers would have been eligible for health insurance in January.

Instead, he has proposed a Medicaid alternative with just enough “market-based solutions” to avoid costing his conservative cred too dearly and delayed needed health care for hundreds of thousands of us.

Known as “consumer-driven health care,” HIP 2.0 has high deductible ($2,500) and a patient-managed POWER account intended to encourage “members to take personal responsibility for their health” and foster “competition in the marketplace.”

But health care isn’t a ?marketplace.

Given the choice between death and an expensive procedure, most of us will choose the procedure. Few would quibble over the price of survival, which is why health care costs are the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States.

Market-based solutions are primarily why I don’t like HIP 2.0. They’re why I’m not a huge fan of Obamacare, either. HIP 2.0 has proven too liberal for some critics, who would rather the uninsured just get a job already and stop relying on government ?handouts.

Some conservatives have been so critical of Pence’s apparent surrender to Obamacare that there is speculation Pence might drop the idea altogether and officially reject the Medicaid expansion funds.

I don’t like HIP 2.0 but, like the ACA, it’s better than nothing. Ignoring 350,000 uninsured Hoosiers might score Pence points with the GOP, but it’s a pretty low way to score points.

Not only are the uninsured less likely to get preventive care, they are almost twice as likely to die from a traumatic injury. About 18,000 deaths a year are linked to a lack of health insurance.

Pence needs to come up with a solution quickly, before any more lives are needlessly lost.

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