Indiana played host to events on both sides of the health care debate Monday.
Leaders from the conservative organization Heritage Action for America are urging Hoosiers to call on Congress to defund the Affordable Care Act.
Former Senator Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, is the president of the Heritage Foundation, a national conservative group. DeMint’s multi-state tour landed in Indianapolis as he urged around 400 attendees Monday to get involved in the fight to defund the Affordable Care Act.
“The idea that you have to have government exchanges, push people onto Medicaid plans in order to get folks with high-risk situations insured is just not true,” says DeMint.
But Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, says getting rid of the federal healthcare law isn’t practical. He says it’s absolutely going to help people with preexisting conditions.
“I have a grandson who would never have had health insurance, never,” says DeLaney. “He’s now four – he’s going to have health insurance for the rest of his life; he’s just one example.”
Delaney and other supporters of the Affordable Care Act held a rally in Indianapolis before Monday’s town hall.
Governor Mike Pence and Republican leaders in the General Assembly have resisted expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, citing concerns about its potential cost to the state.
The administration is opting instead to negotiate with the federal government for an extension of the Healthy Indiana Plan, the state’s health insurance program for low-income Hoosiers. Legislative leaders say they can revisit expansion under the Affordable Care Act next year, after the federal healthcare law is rolled out in other states.
“I think we abdicated our responsibility to the governor and I don’t think he’s happy to hold the hot potato and I’m predicting he will not get a deal with Washington. I hope I’m wrong,” he says.
Meanwhile DeMint says he’s not calling for a government shutdown in order to kill the federal healthcare law, he’s urging Congress to pass a spending bill that funds the rest of government while defunding the Affordable Care Act.