"I'll fight for the right of every Hoosier to run our schools, buy our healthcare, and build our roads the Hoosier way. ... To make Indiana the state that works, we must have a governor who's willing to say yes to Indiana and no to Washington, DC."
That was Mike Pence a year ago, when he was running for governor. As a state's rights Republican, he made a big deal out of how what he called "Hoosier common sense" trumped whatever ideas the federal government might have in mind.
So it's more than a little odd that when it came to making health insurance available to Hoosiers, Pence refused to set up an insurance exchange in Indiana, opting instead to send everyone who lives here to the federal government's website.
We know how that's turning out.
Obamacare's website has been an unmitigated disaster, while insurance exchanges created by those states that chose to do the job themselves — Kentucky, for example — have reportedly been working pretty well.
But wait. There's more.
It turns out there was madness to Pence's method. Pence, you will recall, is the man who stormed into a Republican meeting after the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, declaring this was the worst day for America since 9/11. He's been trying to torpedo the Affordable Care Act ever since. In fact, he's more interested in doing that than in making sure the Hoosiers he supposedly cares so much about get the healthcare they need.
That's why he gave his blessing to Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller's lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service. The suit would block Hoosiers from receiving the financial subsidies that make the Affordable Care Act, well, affordable.
Zoeller's argument meets the very definition of a Catch-22. Since Indiana is making Hoosiers use the federal exchange to shop for health insurance, he thinks they should be disqualified from receiving the federal subsidies intended to help pay for that insurance.
State Rep. Ed DeLaney described Zoeller's lawsuit this way: "We already have told close to 400,000 Hoosiers who live below the poverty level that they will get no relief from the Affordable Care Act because the state of Indiana chooses not to participate in it, even though the taxpayers of this state pay to finance the act.
"Now we are told that ... another 400,000 Hoosiers who make between $15,000 and $80,000 a year in the private sector should not receive any subsidies from the federal government to pay for their health care coverage."
In Mike Pence's Indiana, healthcare is a privilege, not a right. His administration actually prefers spending its time and (our) money suing the federal government to make sure Hoosiers can't get benefits available to citizens in other states.
Is this Pence's idea of making Indiana a competitive destination? Raise the banners high: "Come to Indiana, where the health care's unaffordable, the air's full of fly ash and the water's full of mercury — oh, and where marriage is still between one man and one woman!"
Yeah. That'll work.