Last-minute lobbying kills nursing home moratorium

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A leading proponent of a moratorium on nursing-home construction said last-minute lobbying and big promises about jobs and investment killed the bill.

“The experience illustrates how quickly things can change behind closed doors,” said Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, on Friday morning.

The Indiana House late Thursday night approved House Bill 1391, which during conference committee negotiations replaced Senate Bill 173 as the primary vehicle for a nursing home moratorium. The version of HB 1391 that finally went to the House, however, was stripped of any moratorium language because there wasn’t enough support in the House Republican caucus, Clere said.

The turn of events is surprising, considering SB 173, which proposed a five-year moratorium, passed the Senate, and a watered-down version with a one-year moratorium passed the House, 55-40. A compromise version with two-year ban appeared ready for passage on Tuesday.

Opponents of the moratorium stepped up their lobbying effort while lawmakers were negotiating over different versions of the final bill. Clere said former House Speaker Michael Phillips, now a lobbyist, and his son Jeff Phillips were engaged by the opposition earlier this week. Afterward, he said, “The support just simply collapsed. It was an implosion. It was a striking change of course.”

Clere acknowledged that the long-term care industry, which advocated for the moratorium, had its share of lobbyists working on the issue. “There was a legion of lobbyists on each side,” he said.

The Indiana Health Care Association and others in the long-term care industry argued that the moratorium was needed to cut nursing-home vacancy rates and ensure better care for Medicaid patients. Opponents, which included a construction-industry coalition, said the ban was only protecting established industry players and violated free-market principals.

The coalition was led by Mainstreet Property Group, whose CEO, Zeke Turner, is the son of Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero. Before the House voted on SB 173 in February, Mainstreet announced that it would build 24 more nursing homes in Indiana and create 3,000 jobs if the moratorium didn’t pass.

There’s no way of knowing whether Mainstreet’s promise will be fulfilled, said Clere, chairman of the House Public Health Committee. “The policy discussion took a back seat to promises of big investment,” he said.

A Mainstreet spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

In its final version, without the moratorium, HB 1391 makes changes to the Community and Home Options for Institutional Care of the Elderly and Disabled program.


  • best option
    Since everything these days is profit driven and focuses on the owner-investor instead of the consumer, it seems to me that the best option for a healthy happy old age is to stay out of nursing homes if at all possible. That may not be the way it goes for some, and some may really need to be in a nursing home, but a goal to strive for should be to stay independent as long as possible. I know it's my hope and I am taking actions now to better ensure my hope will be reality.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.