The hot topic in the news right now is the federal healthcare bill.
Normally, I try to stay away from talking about national politics in the Messmer Report. After all, I am your state representative. There is enough confusion about which levels of government handle which kinds of legislation.
However, some of the provisions in the healthcare bill that affect our community so deeply that I felt I had to address them.
Because of the way the bill was drafted, it is no longer just a national issue. This has become a local issue.
The total healthcare bill is almost 2,500 pages long. That means that even the analysts are still trying to piece together what it will mean for Indiana.
A number of ideas were floated around prior to the final version being signed recently by the president, but not all of them made it into the bill.
For example, we've heard many times during the past year about a possible "public option."
Just to clarify, there is no public option in the final healthcare bill. Instead, it mandates that every citizen purchase a commercial product-healthcare insurance.
It's certainly not "free healthcare for all," on the contrary, it's going to be astronomically expensive-for Hoosiers, and for our state in general.
We won't even see the healthcare change until 2014, but we'll start to feel the financial pinch right away. One of the major costs to the state is going to be the pharmaceutical rebate.
Anne Murphy, Secretary of the Family and Social Services Administration, recently wrote a memo to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget about just one of the many impacts of the healthcare bill on Indiana.
She says, "The Indiana Medicaid program has a strong history of negotiating some of the most favorable prescription drug rebates in the nation...
"Unfortunately for Indiana, the savings we achieve now will be confiscated by the federal government at a cost to Hoosier taxpayers."
In other words, the federal healthcare bill is going to make it harder for the state of Indiana to provide the healthcare it is already providing to Hoosiers.
So far, fiscal analysts are still reading through the 2,500 pages, but according to them the healthcare bill will cost $25 million this year and over $400 million over the next ten years, not to mention the additional cost to Hoosiers in additional healthcare insurance premiums.
That doesn't sound like positive change to me.
State leaders are working hard to keep the state financially solvent without crippling vital government services or increasing taxes.
Every dollar required from the people of Indiana because of the new healthcare bill is one less dollar that can be used for something else, including things like K-12 education.
This is just one of the many facets of the healthcare bill. Next week I'll tell you about the one which worries me the most: the threat to Indiana companies like Sallie Mae and Eli Lilly.