Both Major Parties Hurting Senior Citizens

Dear Editor,

Finally, some people working in the Indiana Statehouse helped me get an answer for why ambulance companies started charging a $900 response charge when a person does not go to a hospital.

What I learned is that HB 1112 and HB 1314 were passed on March 8, 2022 by a vote of 50 to zero in the Senate and a vote of 96 to zero in the House.  Governor Eric Holcomb signed the bills into law on March 18, 2022.  In other words, both Democrats and Republicans helped ambulance companies to make more money and hurt senior citizens, the disabled, and the unfortunate.

Ambulance companies were complaining that changes to health insurance reimbursement rates meant that private ambulance companies had to charge more.  They complained that they did not get a government tax subsidy like ambulance services run by cities, towns, counties, townships, or the like.

The legislators believed them and gave the private ambulance companies power to charge up the bills in various ways.  Did the legislators demand that the private ambulance companies open their books to show what they were saying was true?  Did the Indiana Department of Revenue start auditing private ambulance companies to assure the legislators that ambulance company executives and lobbyists were telling the truth?  I doubt it.  Why should legislators seriously question those lobbying the legislators with fine wining and dining?

It used to be that a private ambulance company would agree to provide free response and check services in order to get a contract to serve a community.  Now, a call to check a senior citizen who fell or is dizzy will cost a response charge of $900 if the senior is not taken to the hospital.  That will have a chilling effect on calls for ambulances to help people.  People will start to be reluctant to call an ambulance.

Also, it opens a big problem for everyone in Indiana.  If someone thinks that you look sick when you are just tired, the person can call for an ambulance and make you incur a $900 response charge bill.  That is not fair to anyone in Indiana.

I don’t believe that private ambulance companies were hurting for money.  They get so much money from the federal government for taking people under Medicare and Medicaid.  If I were an Indiana state legislator, I’d want to force ambulance companies to show their books to prove what they claim.  What they pay the employees and executives of the ambulance companies should be public knowledge just as the salaries of Fire Chiefs and Firemen is available to the public.

Charging senior citizens and the disabled a $900 response charge to help them is cruel, mean, and greedy.  Some seniors and disabled people barely get $1,000 per month for living expenses.  If the governor cares about seniors and the disabled, he would call a special session of the legislature to outlaw the $900 RESPONSE CHARGE.  If the governor does not care about correcting this bad law, then we will know what kind of governor he really is.

Woodrow Wilcox

Dyer, Ind.