June 5, 2011

Planned Parenthood

INDIANAPOLIS – A U.S. District Court judge today held a hearing on Planned Parenthood of Indiana’s request for a preliminary injunction against HEA 1210, the new state law that strips Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN). PPIN is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana (ACLU). The Honorable Tanya Walton Pratt did not indicate specifically when she will issue her decision, but said it will be by July 1.

Judge Walton Pratt heard arguments from both the ACLU and the state this morning. On behalf of PPIN, the ACLU argued that the defunding language in HEA 1210 violates federal Medicaid law and the U.S. Constitution. PPIN also contended that thanks to this new measure, its health care professionals will be forced to make statements to patients that are not medically and scientifically based, also in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

June 4, 2011

Southern Indiana citizens will pay dearly for cuts in Medicare proposed by House Republicans and supported by Reps. Todd Young, R-9th, and Larry Buschon, R-8th, according to House Democrats.

For example, according to a district-by-district analysis prepared by Democratic staff for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce called "Impacts of the Republican Medicare Plan," Young's constituents between the ages of 44 and 54 will have to save between $182,000 to $287,000 per individual to pay for increased cost of health coverage over their lifetimes. Younger residents of the district would have to save even more.

Health insurance giant focus on profits for elites, lip service for patients

June 3, 2011

On May 17, 2011, the traffic in downtown Indianapolis moved slower than an insurance company clerk preparing a reimbursement check, backed up for blocks, and if we were one second late the doors to the WellPoint annual shareholders meeting would be sealed, protected by armed guards. We jumped out of the car, leaving it our friend Donna Smith to find a parking spot, and started running up the street, dodging traffic, past the phalanx of police cars and into the Hilton.

Breathlessly rushing through the lobby we asked which floor for the WellPoint meeting and luckily didn't wait long for an elevator. When we reached the ninth floor with minutes to spare, the WellPoint staff at the registration desk greeted us like old friends, "Dr. Stone, we were afraid you weren't going to make it."

May 29, 2011

I waited until now to publicly thank Mayor Mark Kruzan for his May 13 vote against Interstate 69 because a private note I sent him came back saying he would be out of e-mail range until month's end. I know the mayor read my piece calling him out on the issue last November. We communicated about it. So, in the interest of journalistic proportionality, equal play for his courage is required.

Besides, the fallout from the mayor's stand against the corruption, abuse of power and anti-democratic forces behind the sociopathic, $4 billion taxpayer mugging is falling hardest around him and the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) now. For example, with a lack of self-awareness worthy of The Office's Michael Scott, newspaper editors in Evansville called local MPO members "clowns" in a May 22 editorial. (More on that below.)

May 28, 2011

Twelve Bloomington citizens protested the May 26 sale of timber in the Monroe-Morgan State Forest Backcountry Area, which Indiana Forest Alliance (IFA) member David Haberman called a “complete betrayal of what was set up by the state to protect this wilderness area.”

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) established the Backcountry Area in 1981 to provide a backcountry wilderness experience for Indiana citizens. The intent, according to IFA's Website, "was to show that the state could protect areas just as well as land that was put into federal Wilderness Area protection. … The particular area they intend to put on sale on Thursday contains stands of the largest and oldest trees in the Backcountry Area.”

May 20, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS - Chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, Anthem WellPoint’s got to go” on an uncharacteristically cold and rainy May 17, about 50 people gathered from across Indiana in front of the Indianapolis City Market.

The occasion was the annual rally for single-payer health care, sponsored by Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan (HCHP), Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana (CAC), Jobs with Justice, Indiana chapter of the AFL-CIO, the Labor Campaign for Single-Payer Health Care and Physicians for a National Health Plan.

May 19, 2011

News Release
Planned Parenthood

INDIANAPOLIS - Due to an ongoing and meaningful outpouring of financial support from women and men across the country, Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) is able to continue to cover the costs of care to its established Medicaid patients through at least Monday, May 30.

Incredibly, PPIN has received more than $50,000 in donations since the Indiana legislature and Gov. Mitch Daniels made the decision through HEA 1210 to unplug 9,300 Medicaid patients from health care at their preferred provider.

May 19, 2011

The idea that possible presidential candidate Mitch Daniels represents fiscal restraint sounds like hogwash to opponents of three pricey projects moving forward on his watch as governor of Indiana.

At Edwardsport, construction cost overruns have skyrocketed at a Duke Energy plant that would convert coal into synthetic gas to generate electricity. Consumer groups and industrial customers have balked at the $2.72 billion bill that Duke wants ratepayers to pick up.

Will Daniels impose state control over local transportation planning?

May 14, 2011

Opponents of Interstate 69 erupted in cheers and applause when Mayor Mark Kruzan and the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Committee (MPO) on May 13 voted to exclude I-69 in its Transportation Improvement Program for fiscal years 2012–15.

The 8-to-3 vote followed several hours of intense testimony from the public in opposition to I-69. The move includes section 4, which would bisect Monroe County.

“There comes a time when you stand up to a bully,” City Council member Andy Ruff said. “It is time to stand up for ourselves. It is time to stop the bully from adding I-69 to his political trophy case.”

May 14, 2011

Change is in the air. Some of this is welcome change: the grassroots democracy movement across the Middle East and North Africa comes to mind. As does the worker uprising in Madison, Wis., and cities and towns across these United States.

More often than not, however, this change has been catastrophic. Weather-related disasters of historic proportions are wreaking havoc on the people and the land across the American South. Overseas, the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continues to threaten public health and safety in northeast Japan and beyond.

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