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Pence rules out Medicaid expansion in current form

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Gov. Mike Pence said Wednesday that he has ruled out expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law unless Indiana gets approval to use state health savings accounts for the expansion.

Pence told reporters that the only way he would approve a Medicaid expansion would be if the state is given the choice of using its Healthy Indiana plan to cover new enrollees.

"It was important to me that we do fully fund Medicaid, but we did not fund a Medicaid expansion, nor do I think that under the current framework for Medicaid that it would be advisable for Indiana to do that," he said.

Democratic lawmakers are pushing for the state to approve the expansion, and House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, has said he is considering paying for the expansion in the House version of the budget.

Pence's announcement came two days after Ohio Gov. John Kasich bucked a trend among Republican governors of flatly opposing the federal health care law and said he would expand Medicaid in his state.

Pence declared his intentions in a call with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this week. He also told her that Indiana does not plan to build a "hybrid" health exchange with the federal government.

Even without the expansion, Indiana's Medicaid rolls are expected to grow by 90,000 as more children who already qualify for Medicaid are enrolled in the program because of the health care law's individual mandate. Milliman Inc. analysts determined this "woodwork effect" would cost the state an additional $67 million next year and another $105 million in fiscal year 2015, all of which Pence has budgeted for.

Accepting the full Medicaid expansion, for residents earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level could cost the state an additional $94 million next year and $151 million more in fiscal year 2015 if every qualified resident enrolled, Milliman determined. The firm estimates a full expansion would place another 682,000 residents in the program.

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  • Screw the poor
    As with everything in this state, the rich get one tax break after another, but the poor can not get health insurance.
  • Happy with HIP
    Fisher Mom >The agent(lol)of course an insurance agent will say that"find coverage cheaper than they could offer through HIP"(are u kidding me)HIP may require you to pay a small monthly fee based on the amount of your income.Let us all know when u find a Health insurance policy were u pay on a sliding scale($1-$13 Month)It's not a flawed program,your facts are.I do not qualify for Medicaid because I'm over the asset limit.I do however qualify for Medicaid on income levels.As it stands now,if u are on HIP u don't qualify for Medicaid.I have been on HIP since its creation(2008)and its a great program paid for by a cigarette tax. Please get your facts straight
  • costs are already there
    This might cost the State, but the costs are already there. People get care at Indiana hospitals and from doctors and dont pay so the costs are passed to other insureds and employers. or if they dont get care, eventually the $100 problem becomes a $50,000 unfunded hospital stay. Not expanding Medicaid and accepting the Federal money is a bad deal for the State. Hopefully this is simple posturing for the HIP program and eventually Indiana will take the money.
  • Healthy Indiana Plan
    I looked into the Healthy Indiana Plan when I was unemployed and my Cobra coverage was expiring. An agent with the plan told me I could find coverage cheaper than they could offer through Healthy Indiana Plan. It is a flawed program and should not be expanded. It makes more fiscal sense to opt in to the federal program. The more people you have in the program, the greater savings.
    • central state hospital
      me to hhh to pence has memory problems at his age??

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