Choosing between food and healthcare

To the editor:

Many of us budget for our cars, homes, and in my particular case, the dog I so desperately want. One thing we often times cannot budget, and if we can it certainly isn’t easy, is our healthcare.

According to a Gallup study, published on March 31, 2021, an estimated 46 million CANNOT afford healthcare.

In their study, one in eight Americans have cut back on spending on food to pay for their healthcare or medicine. This is especially troubling for Indiana, as we have the fourth highest cost for hospital care in the nation, according to a RAND study.

Higher hospital costs mean lower wages for Hoosiers. Higher hospital costs mean individuals choosing between receiving the essential care they need or putting food on the table for their families.

The fact that Hoosiers pay twice as much as residents of the state of Michigan for hospital care is no fault of Hoosier healthcare warriors, the heroic men and women who saved so many lives throughout this pandemic. Instead, it is a reflection of the lack of transparency and accountability to the Hoosier healthcare consumer on the part of large hospital system executives.

Luckily, there is legislation in the General Assembly being heard this session that works to address this gap in transparency by relying on free market principles that promote competition, choice, and transparency to curb costs. Although this is a step in the right direction, we still have a long way to go to ensure that no Hoosier has to choose between paying for food and paying for healthcare.

—Savannah Kerstiens

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