It pains me to write this. I have been brought up with a love of Indiana basketball that requires me to despise not only Kentucky Wildcats basketball, but the Commonwealth of Kentucky overall. I have been faithful to that requirement for a long time. Hell, it’s been easy most of the time. Lately though…
Kentucky has looked like a progressive paradise while Indiana looks like a political haven for rednecks and hillbillies. Kentucky looked at the Affordable Care Act (ACA), saw opportunities, and created a state exchange that works. They expanded Medicaid (the link is worth reading), ensuring more of their citizens would get health insurance. A federal judge in Kentucky ruled that the state must recognize gay marriages performed in states where they are legal. Then the attorney general decided not to appeal that ruling.
Yes, you read that correctly. Kentucky did all of those things. Just watch the KY Attorney General get emotional discussing his decision:
And what are we doing in Indiana? Reader, I’m ashamed to even tell you.
In Indiana, our lawmakers hitched up their britches, spit their tobaccy and shouted YEE-HAW a few times before trying everything they could to get a same-sex marriage and civil union ban to the voters. They failed, thankfully. By the way, gay marriage is still illegal in the Hoosier state and some people won’t even sell gay couples a cake to celebrate their commitment to love each other, even though that commitment’s not legally binding!
We heard the ACA granted states the opportunities to devise their own solutions to increasing coverage of the poor and enrollment of our citizens. Instead of doing that, we sued to stop the ACA and failed. Then we sued to prevent our own residents from receiving subsidies and failed. At that point, we just lamented the ‘federal takeover’ and went with healthcare.gov while other states created their own solutions (ahem, like Kentucky).
We also refused to expand Medicaid. What does this mean? It means we’re paying to subsidize the states who aren’t in a pissing contest with President Obama and who accepted Medicaid expansion. It means that instead of our state’s tax dollars coming back to us to help give those Hoosiers living in poverty health insurance, we still pay the same amount but it goes to other states. Oh, and we still have to find a way to pay for health care for those who would have been covered by Medicaid expansion.
Read This: Medicaid Expansion: a case of the Kentucky ‘haves’ and the Indiana ‘have-nots’
In other news, the state legislature FINALLY passes a mass transit bill and Governor Pence isn’t sure he wants to sign it. Four state legislators are considering legal action because Ball State University is prohibiting a professor from teaching Intelligent Design theory in a SCIENCE class.
Look, no one loves the Hoosier state more than I do. I love this state and I especially love Indianapolis. But we can do better. I never thought I’d say I envy Kentucky but they are upholding the dignity of their citizens while our lawmakers seek to institutionalize discrimination. They are finding ways to help their vulnerable populations while we are dragged kicking and screaming to the children’s table for those who won’t participate in the process.
Get it together, Indiana.
TL;DR: Kentucky is expanding Medicaid, recognizing same-sex marriages, and making the ACA work. Indiana is… not. Let’s leave it at that.