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Monday, July 24, 2017
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Gov. Eric Holcomb talks to a reporter in Greenfield earlier this month. (HPI Photo by Brian A. Howey)
Gov. Eric Holcomb talks to a reporter in Greenfield earlier this month. (HPI Photo by Brian A. Howey)
Monday, July 24, 2017 3:28 PM

By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Eric Holcomb has written a letter to the people of Indiana about the health care reforms that could be debated and voted on in the U.S. Senate. A vote could take place on Tuesday, but at this writing none of the senators even know what’s in the legislation. President Trump said on Monday at the White House that Senate Republicans "must fulfill that solemn promise to the voters of this country to repeal and replace."

The Holcomb administration has been sitting on an analysis of potential Indiana impacts, but in his letter released Monday afternoon, the governor said that the evolving legislation is virtually impossible to accurately gauge. “Last week, we saw two separate publicly reported estimates about the impacts of Senate legislation that were $5 billion apart,” he said. “By tomorrow, there could be other reports with completely different numbers. As I write this, there are rumblings of a potential vote this week. The point is, no one yet knows what the final legislation will contain or whether there will even be agreement to bring a bill to a vote at all.”

The National Governors Association received a study from Avalere Health, which found Indiana’s federal Medicaid funds would decline by $36.5 billion by 2036 under the last GOP plan. The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported that Indiana would lose $4.9 billion in fun ing for the poor, disabled and elderly on Medicaid under the ailing Senate health care bill, a 14% drop from what the state would receive under current law through 2026. The estimates come from a governors-only discussion on the future of health care that was presented last week at the NGA and obtained by the Journal Gazette. The federal funding reductions would grow even more severe under the Senate plan by 2036 with Indiana’s loss at 32%, or $36.5 billion.

And the Wall Street Journal reported that the Senate Republican push to repeal the Affordable Care Act would cause 32 million more people to be without insurance coverage by 2026 and decrease the federal de cit by $473 billion, according to a new CBO report released Wednesday. The estimate also projects that repealing the ACA would double premium increases by 2026.

In his letter, Holcomb said, “Here’s what I do know. We cannot continue to ignore the problems with our nation’s current health care system. Medicaid and Medicare are shattering our federal budget, and the national debt has skyrocketed to $20 trillion. Obamacare is crumbling under its own weight. In Indiana, as many as 60 counties will be left with just one choice for insurance coverage under the Obamacare marketplace beginning in 2018. Premiums are rising, our Hoosier neighbors are losing access, and employers are frustrated by federal overregulation that makes it more difficult for Indiana to put Hoosiers to work.”

  • REP. YOUNG TO POST $1M FOR QUARTER: Just days before he makes a presumptive Republican U.S. Senate bid official, U.S. Rep. Todd Young scorched the fundraising circuit, preparing to post $1,024,908 for the second quarter (Howey, Howey Politics Indiana).

     

    HARRISON QUALIFIES FOR INDY MAYORAL BALLOT: Rev. Charles Harrison is now prepared to throw an interesting wrench into the Indianapolis mayoral race (Howey Politics Indiana). Allies of the United Methodist pastor filed more than 6,600 signatures to gain ballot access as an independent last week. Sources with the Marion County Voter Registration have confirmed 3,200 signatures, with another 150 pages yet to be counted, meaning Harrison qualifies for ballot access.

     

    DAILY WIRE RESENT DUE TO TECHNICAL GLITCH: We are resending today’s HPI Daily Wire due to technical glitches. We apologize for the inconvenience.

     

    SANDERS SURGE WORRIES CLINTON CAMPAIGN: The ample crowds and unexpectedly strong showing garnered by Senator Bernie Sanders are setting off worry among advisers and allies of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who believe the Vermont senator could overtake her in Iowa polls by the fall and even defeat her in the nation’s first nominating contest there (New York Times).

     

    INDIANA TEACHER POOL DRYING UP; ‘POLITICIANS’ BLAMED: School leaders in south-central Indiana are reporting that the number of applicants they get for teaching positions has declined in recent years (Ladwig, Greensburg Daily News). They blame primarily state funding constraints, which depress teacher wages, and a blame-the-teachers mentality of politicians and the media, which is pushing teachers out of the profession and prompting fewer high school grads to consider teaching an attractive career. Budd said that the number of applicants has declined especially for math, sciences and foreign languages. “It has become a real struggle,” Budd said. “The pool of applicants is definitely dried up.”

     

    TEACHING LICENSES DOWN 88%: Annual state data reveal that the number of teaching licenses the state issues has fallen a whopping 88 percent in the last six years (Greensburg Daily News). According to the Indiana Department of Education, the state issued in the 2007/08 school year about 7,500 teaching licenses. In 2013/14, the most recent year for which data were available, the state issued just 934 licenses.

     

    GM REBUFFS FIAT/CHRYSLER MERGER: John Elkann, chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and scion of Italy’s Agnelli family, isn’t giving up on forging a partnership with General Motors Co. , despite being rebuffed by his Detroit rival twice in the past four years (Wall Street Journal).

     

    ZODY WANTS DETAILS ON CANCELED PORTER-NOVELLI CONTRACT: Indiana Democrats have sent the Republican Pence administration a formal request to release documents showing what the state got for its money when it hired a New York public relations firm to deal with the damage inflicted by a new religious objections law (Associated Press). Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said Monday that he wants Gov. Mike Pence's office to release contracts, messages and emails related to the agreement with Porter Novelli.

     

    HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Hoosier taxpayers paid $365,000 to the New York PR firm Porter Novelli to repair the state’s post RFRA damage. We ought to be able to see what we paid for. Remember, Public Servants (this includes you, IEDC), you work for us, the taxpayers. - Brian A. Howey

     

    CLICK HERE TO READ TODAY'S FULL HPI DAILY WIRE.

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  • Pelath rallies LaPorte Democrats citing 'fragile democracy'
    “I think we all learned in the last six months that this noble experiment, American democracy, is a lot more fragile than we thought. We find ourselves fighting for the right to fight at all. Although party leaders drew laughs and jeers as they took jabs at Republicans — from Donald Trump and Mike Pence on the national stage to even those on the local level — they also sought to convey the gravity of their remarks. It’s time to talk serious business now. We have to look ahead with some humility about what we face and what we have to do to turn things around.” - Indiana House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, rallying LaPorte County Democrats with U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly and U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky last Friday. According to the LaPorte Herald Argus, Pelath urged party members to “hang on to that feeling” they had after Trump was elected and use it to fuel positive action. He urged fellow Democrats to speak gently with relatives, friends and neighbors who voted for Trump.”
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  • Volatile meetings of Members, the press, and the Hoosier people
    We give great credit to U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon for conducting a rollicking town hall meeting in Evansville Friday night where he found supporters and detractors. Other Members, notably U.S. Reps. Pete Visclosky and Jim Banks, have held town halls during this GOP health reform sequence. Others, like U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, haven’t. That’s a sad development, that the people’s representatives fear their own constituents. And there’s reason for that, such as the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and the assault on the Republican baseball team earlier this summer that critically wounded U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise. We in the press have ventured out into volatile territory and know what it’s like to face a critical public. Throughout 2016, I attended five Donald Trump rallies (until I was banned by the campaign), and he would openly goad his supporters to confront the press, calling us thugs, liars and the worst of humanity. The positive news on this front is that Hoosiers are good folks. When Trump would aim his rhetoric at us in the press pen, people would turn and look. Some would wave and smile. I never heard a single insult or threat. A number of Indiana reporters and photographers had good-natured conversations with Trump supporters as we awaited the candidate. I never felt unsafe. Hoosiers are civic minded and good stewards of the process. - Brian A. Howey, publisher, writing in Nashville, Ind.
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