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Daniels' health care team says answers pending

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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels' team of federal health care overhaul leaders told state lawmakers Wednesday that even without clear answers on the new law, it will cost the state hundreds of millions more in the coming years.

A new report this week assumed that if Medicaid isn't expanded, Indiana would still pay a combined $612 million over the next seven years as more residents who qualify for the program come out of the "woodwork" because of the health care law. Milliman, an actuary, is assessing the potential costs for the state.

Daniels has left two key decisions to whoever succeeds him — whether the state should establish its own insurance exchange and whether it should expand Medicaid coverage. Republican Mike Pence has not said what he would do, aside from continuing to oppose the health care law. Democrat John Gregg and Libertarian Rupert Boneham have said the state should run a "hybrid" exchange in coordination with the federal government.

Beyond those questions, however, state health overhaul consultant Seema Verma told members of the General Assembly the state is having trouble getting answers from the Obama administration on specifics of the new health care law.

"I do think that it's a huge challenge. There are so many unanswered questions," she said. "They haven't told us how much it's going to cost. I think it put states in very difficult positions."

Indiana health care advocates say, however, that many other states are moving forward with exchanges and seem to be having little trouble coordinating with the federal government.

"There are a bunch of other states that certainly would disagree with Seema that there's not enough information for them to make a decision and they're moving ahead on it," said David Roos, executive director of Covering Kids and Families of Indiana.

Verma also said the state would accept a one-year expansion of its health savings account plan, the Healthy Indiana Plan. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the state for an expansion at the end of July, but the Daniels' administration griped about not getting a requested five-year expansion or an answer whether the plan could serve as an expansion of Medicaid.

The state has until Oct. 1 to say which benefits would be covered in a state exchange and until Nov. 16 to decide whether to run an exchange.

The winner of the governor's race will have until 2014 to decide whether the state should expand Medicaid coverage.

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  • Hoosier Values
    I thought Indiana was the Champion of Values. Decent health care is one of the values.
  • nail on the head
    Totally agree - maybe I can get a second job to make more, get taxed more, and contribute what isn't rightly mine anyway. Socialism.
  • Let's do it
    Who cares how much it costs? I think, if you are lucky enough to work-especially lucky enough to work like me 10 to 16 hrs a day, you should feel obliged to cover health care for those who don't have to work a single hour a day. And hey, Obama's right, rich people like me should be willing to pay for them. It's my fault they can't or won't work. Please, just let me know how much more of my take home pay you need to support these people. Maybe, because I'm lucky, I can squeeze a couple more hours of work in each day to support my family and yours!

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    1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

    2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. Well...you guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

    3. It's empowering for this niche community to know that they have an advocate on their side in case things go awry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrst9VXVKfE

    4. Apparently the settlement over Angie's List "bundling" charges hasn't stopped the practice! My membership is up for renewal, and I'm on my third email trying to get a "basic" membership rather than the "bundled" version they're trying to charge me for. Frustrating!!

    5. Well....as a vendor to both of these builders I guess I have the right to comment. Davis closed his doors with integrity.He paid me every penny he owed me. Estridge,STILL owes me thousands and thousands of dollars. The last few years of my life have been spent working 2 jobs, paying off the suppliers I used to work on Estridge jobs and just struggling to survive. Shame on you Paul...and shame on you IBJ! Maybe you should have contacted the hundreds of vendors that Paul stiffed. I'm sure your "rises from the ashes" spin on reporting would have contained true stories of real people who have struggled to find work and pay of their debts (something that Paul didn't even attempt to do).

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