Republican Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock is pushing back at Democrats’ recent attacks that he wouldn’t require insurance companies to cover catastrophic illnesses like cancer.
“No one is more concerned about access to quality and affordable health care than Treasurer Mourdock, and it’s shocking Joe Donnelly would try to turn a disease as serious as cancer into a political football,” Mourdock spokesman Christopher Conner told TPM.
Spurring Democrats’ attacks was a discussion last week of the Obama administration’s mandate that insurance plans cover contraception, in which Mourdock posited the hypothetical of an employer who chooses to offer insurance coverage for everything — except cancer. Mourdock said that such a business would have the right to exclude cancer treatment, but would alienate potential employees.
“Does that employer have the right to do it? I would say yes they do if they want to keep their health care costs down but it also means it’s less likely you’re going to want to work here,” Mourdock said during a sit-down with the Jefferson News and Tribune. “If that employer wants to get the best employees coming in the door, he’s going to offer the best insurance possible.”
State Democrats took aim Monday.
“More than 30,000 Hoosiers are diagnosed with cancer every year. Almost 13,000 die. Every one of us has been touched by someone who that has had to suffer an illness that not only threatens lives, but wipes families out financially,” Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker said in a statement. “Richard Mourdock wants to gamble not just Hoosiers’ health but our financial security in the name of his tea party agenda.”
The Mourdock campaign fired back.
“Simply put, Richard was making the point that a company that discontinued insurance coverage of life-threatening ailments would immediately become an unattractive place to work,” Conner told TPM. “In no way, shape or form does Richard support companies discontinuing such insurance coverage, and any attempt to say otherwise is a complete falsehood.”
Conner also said that Mourdock believes states, not the federal government, should decide what types of coverage are mandatory in insurance policies. “The federal government should not have the power to force employers, such as Catholic hospitals, to offer services they morally oppose.”