Health care: Where Republican candidates for governor stand

Health care services in Indiana. (Credit: Pulaski Memorial Hospital, Beacon Health System, Riley Hospital for Children)

Health care services in Indiana. (Credit: Pulaski Memorial Hospital, Beacon Health System, Riley Hospital for Children)

Apr 10, 2024

Six candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for Indiana governor in the May 7 primary. State Affairs is providing looks at their stances on several issues. Jennifer McCormick is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

The cost and quality of health care are top-of-mind issues for many Indiana voters, and the six Republican gubernatorial candidates — U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, former state Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden, former Attorney General Curtis Hill and conservative activist Jamie Reitenour — have plans to address them. 

KFF, formerly the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan nonprofit that studies health care policy, found Indiana ranked as the 19th most expensive state in per capita health care costs. 

State costs for Medicaid, the federal program that covers some 2.2 million low-income Hoosiers and more than half of the state’s children, continue to grow

Most of the candidates call for increased transparency from providers, while some focus their health care platforms on relitigating the state’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

So, how would each of the six Republican candidates for governor seek to address health care needs and costs if elected?

Mike Braun

Braun’s platform claims Indiana’s high health care costs limit new businesses and burden Hoosiers. 

“Solutions such as transparency, innovation, competition and empowering consumers are not hard to figure out but will take bold leadership to implement in the face of the powerful health care lobby.”

As a senator, Braun introduced in December the bipartisan “Health Care Price Transparency Act 2.0.” The federal legislation would require hospitals to publish prices for all services, allowing patients to compare costs. 

Brad Chambers

“We need to make sure physicians are free to compete in hospitals. … We need to have transparency in pricing, and then we need to get the hospitals, physicians, insurance companies and pharma in a room and figure out a solution to lower Indiana’s health care costs,” Chambers said at a March 19 candidate forum

Suzanne Crouch

Crouch has also called for price transparency from providers. 

“You can go shop around for a car, but if you want a knee replaced, good luck,” Crouch said at the March 19 candidate forum. 

Crouch’s platform proposes increased funding for mental health and addiction-related services. In March, she launched a television ad promising action on addiction and the opioid crisis.

In February, Crouch, as lieutenant governor, called for an audit of the Family Social Services Administration after the agency proposed cuts to a plan that compensates parents who provide attendant care to their children. 

Eric Doden

Health care transparency is one of several issues spelled out in Doden’s platform

“The state of Indiana spends billions of dollars each year on health care while providing special tax breaks to health care institutions. As governor, I will implement a plan to ensure hospitals provide full transparency in pricing and their use of taxpayer funding.”

He also seeks to incentivize more community investment from nonprofit health care institutions and pledges to provide additional resources for addiction treatment. 

Curtis Hill

“We need to make sure that costs are transparent and people understand what the services are. And then we can improve the quality of service,” Hill said at a March 19 candidate forum. 

Hill touts his rejection of mask and vaccination mandates to begin his health care plan

The former Indiana attorney general also focuses his platform largely on protecting patients’ and parents’ legal rights: 

“Under a Hill administration, the government will get out of the exam room and support parents making decisions for their children.”

Jamie Reitenour

Reitenour’s health platform calls for additional transparency and the protection of religious freedoms when it comes to care decisions.

“Together, let’s restore health freedom in Indiana by protecting the provider-patient relationship, increasing the capacity and resilience of our health care system [and] restoring consumer confidence in health care providers and organizations.”

She also pushed against what she called the “government overreach” of COVID-19 mandates at a March 19 candidate forum. 

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