Public health emergency bill moves forward in Indiana Senate

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The Indiana Senate’s version of legislation to enact administrative tools to end the state’s public health emergency passed in committee unanimously on Wednesday, with backing from business and health care leaders.

Senate Bill 3 would put in place administrative actions that could allow Gov. Eric Holcomb to end the state’s public health emergency. It would create administrative tools to ensure Indiana can continue receiving the same federal reimbursements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid, and maintain the state’s ability to hold voluntary community vaccination clinics.

The bill was also amended in committee on Wednesday to allow for temporary medical licensing to retired or inactive emergency medical services personnel, retired or inactive health care professionals, out-of-state health care professionals, or recent graduate students in the medical field.

The Senate Health and Provider Services Committee voted to move the bill forward to the full Senate, after hearing testimony all in favor of the measure.

SB 3 has been labeled a top priority of Senate Republicans, and a different approach to what Republican lawmakers in the House are pushing to also end the health emergency with House Bill 1001. The first half of HB 1001 mirrors what SB 3 would do, but language to restrict employer vaccine mandates by making them accept any medical or religious exemptions is tacked on as well.

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, had said last week that the Senate wants a “clean” health emergency bill, leaving out the more controversial issue of vaccine mandates, which he said makes HB 1001 a “heavier bill.”

The vaccine mandate provision in the House bill has been the subject of most of the backlash in the hours of public testimony taken on the bill. Business and health care leaders are against it, and say the measures go too far to discourage employers from implementing vaccine mandates. And general vaccine objectors have not fully supported it either, saying it does not do enough to stop vaccine mandates.

Testimony on SB 3 on Wednesday contrasted the testimony heard so far on HB 1001.

Representatives from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, the Indiana Manufacturers Association, the Indiana Hospital Association and the Indiana State Medical Association, all testified in support of the bill, and many thanked author Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparasio, for bringing forward legislation without the vaccine mandate language seen in the House’s version of the bill.

“I think for what it does and what it doesn’t do, it sort of takes care of business. It includes protection you’re looking to provide without getting into some of the other issues,” said Bill Waltz with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

Health care leaders were generally supportive of the bill as well, but also noted their concerns with ending the health emergency too soon as hospital emergency rooms continue to be overwhelmed with patients and beds are filling up.

Dr. Elizabeth Struble, president of the Indiana State Medical Association, said she supported the efforts to ensure Indiana keep its federal funding and allow pharmacies to administer COVID-19 vaccines to children, if the health emergency does have to end.

“This bill takes the necessary and prudent steps to ensure a smooth transition out of the public health emergency and to help safeguard the health of Hoosiers,” Struble said.

SB 3 will head to the full Senate for consideration. The full House has yet to move forward with HB 1001 this week, after it passed of committee last week.

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4 thoughts on “Public health emergency bill moves forward in Indiana Senate

  1. Fantastic timing from the group that Harrison Ullman used to call “America’s worst state legislature.” Nothing like trying to end the public health emergency at the very time when hospitalizations are at an all-time pandemic high. Before voting on this, every legislator ought to be required to go visit the emergency COVID wards that have been created at hospitals across the state to handle the crush of COVID patients, most of whom are unvaccinated because so many politicians have tried for months to downplay the emergency. Keep up the thoughtful work, Indiana lawmakers!

    1. It’s the least bad option. Let them pass it and let other nonsense die, like this bill:

      “A bill introduced in the Indiana General Assembly would allow health providers to prescribe ivermectin to COVID-19 patients and ban them from discouraging its use.

      House Bill 1372, authored by Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Goshen, would also prevent the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, Indiana State Board of Nursing and Indiana Board of Pharmacy from disciplining physicians, nurses or pharmacists who provide the drug to patients.”

      Time to get politics out of medicine, indeed.

    2. Yikes, I can feel my screen vibrate from your paranoid screeching. Imagine thinking Ullman is some sort of voice of neutrality or centrism. Did Ullman ever visit Louisiana? New Jersey? The state immediately to the west?

      Even leftist comedy sites are making fun of the inconsistent messaging coming from the CDC these days. And Trevor Noah, friend of the establishment, dares question the extreme profits collected by Pfizer (no doubt touchy since Omicron began in his home country) and gets pushed through the ringer for it.

      And the CDC is finally admitting what we’ve known all along (by Deborah Birx’s own admission in summer 2020): that COVID deaths are vastly over-reported because of the non-distinction of “with COVID” versus “from COVID”. That paragon of integrity, Rochelle Walensky, admits that most people dying of COVID are very sick.

      Why is it so hard to get actual footage of these emergency COVID wards, and actually show us? Why have we had multiple exposé’s that show staged COVID test lines with nurses pretending to be patients, or crowded ICUs that (after closer scrutiny) had signage that was 100% in Italian? And why are hospitals continuing to close at an accelerated rate when there’s such an opportunity for an infusion both of patients and federal COVID aid?

      To the nearest hundred, how many people do you know who have perished from the coof, Steve? It’s so infuriating, isn’t it, that many of us came to the conclusion as long ago as May 2020 that we were being sold a pig and a poke.

      But I would agree: time to get politics out of medicine. The only way to do so, however, when the agents conveying the information are themselves 100% politically corrupt, is to allow all political messaging equal weight. Otherwise, smooth-brained individuals like me are going to keep looking for whatever The Cathedral calls “misinformation” and we’ll continue to disregard corrupted experts Fauci and Walensky when we have “reliable sources” like Joe Rogan and Nicki Minaj.

    3. Check out this article from IndyStar:

      ‘Everyone is so tired’: Inside IU Health Methodist as it is overwhelmed by COVID patients

      “Timothy Garner, 55, was one of those patients on Saturday. Garner, who had tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, stood up in his Tipton home and realized something was very wrong with his left foot. The extremity felt numb but also on fire.

      The local hospital emergency room staff diagnosed him with blood clots in his foot and arranged for him to be airlifted to IU Health Methodist. Two days later, Garner lay in bed, tethered to supplemental oxygen, but a new man, feeling “300% better,” foot intact, able to wiggle his toes.

      “I was one of those stubborn old fools that didn’t get vaccinated,” he said. “After almost losing your foot, that changes things.”

      About 52% of the state’s total population has been vaccinated. About 66% of those in Garner’s age group are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s vaccine dashboard.

      While both his elderly parents were vaccinated, Garner had always leaned toward conspiracy theories, he said. The electrician had distrusted the vaccine, which he said, seemed to have been developed too fast.

      But after what he’s just been through? He wouldn’t wish it on his worst enemy. He told Kapoor he wanted to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

      “This stubborn old man has figured out it ain’t worth it,” Garner said. “My mind’s all different now.”