IBJNews

Pence pitches health plan proposal in Washington

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The health insurance expansion Gov. Mike Pence is touting relies on federal Medicaid money and meets federal Medicaid requirements, but the Republican governor insists it's not Medicaid.

Pence is asking the federal government to pay for an expansion of the state's Healthy Indiana Plan, saying his plan is much better than traditional Medicaid. He took his pitch to Washington, D.C., on Monday, unequivocally telling an audience gathered at the conservative American Enterprise Institute that his plan is nothing short of Medicaid reform.

"Last week, my administration announced plans to submit a waiver to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to replace traditional Medicaid in Indiana for all able-bodied adults with an expanded version of the Healthy Indiana Plan," he said.

But national conservatives, his longtime support base, have been treating his proposal as equivalent to the expansion of federal health care they ardently oppose.

Whether Pence's proposal is in fact an expansion of Medicaid may depend on point of view as well as how "Medicaid" is defined.

Kosali Simon, a health economist and professor at Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs, said the law creating Medicaid is specifically designed to allow states to develop their own options for administering the law. By that definition, Pence's proposal is an expansion of Medicaid.

"It's Medicaid because it fits into the definition of what states are allowed to do: States are allowed to ask for waivers," Simon said.

But she notes that if one defines Medicaid as "not deviating at all" from how the federal government asked states to expand Medicaid, then Pence's proposal is not Medicaid.

Indiana is among a handful of states that have proposed accepting the federal expansion of Medicaid on their terms. Arkansas and Iowa won waivers allowing them expand Medicaid coverage with some key changes, like providing payouts to low-income residents to purchase insurance on the health insurance exchange.

Pence's plan calls for a series of major changes from how Medicaid expansions in other states have worked.

The first part of the "Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0" would allow adults earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level to enroll in the state's hybrid health savings account plan. If the residents pay a small monthly fee, they would be enrolled in "HIP Plus," which provides dental and vision coverage, as well as better prescription coverage. If residents miss their payments, they would drop down to "HIP Basic," which does not include vision and dental coverage and other "extras".

"HIP 2.0" also establishes "HIP Link", a nod to Arkansas, which would have the state subsidize low-income workers whose employers offer health care benefits but are too expensive for the workers.

But the details include some key features of Medicaid, specifically measures that Health and Human Services officials asked for when they rejected a similar proposal submitted by former Gov. Mitch Daniels. The addition of dental and vision coverage, as well as not being able to kick residents out of the program if they don't make payments, were key features of the federal Medicaid expansion.

And the program is also funded heavily by federal Medicaid dollars.

David Roos, executive director of Covering Kids and Families of Indiana, and other health care advocates in Indiana pushed hard for an expansion of traditional Medicaid, but have largely rallied around Pence's proposed alternative.

The Pence proposal includes many key facets and requirements not found in traditional Medicaid, he said.

"It's definitely not Obamacare," Roos said. "I think it's a new critter. I think it's exactly what (waivers) are supposed to be: it's a compromise."

ADVERTISEMENT

  • In The Details
    As I understand the details, the HIP plans are tied to the federal dollars, so if the federal dollars dry up, the HIP plans will be terminated, reverting back to non-expanded Medicaid.
  • Handout for Federal Money
    Imagine that, a Republican Governor using federal funds to address his dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act. Governor Pence plans to replace the ACA in Indiana with a Federally Funded Improvement to Medicaid, which is really not Medicaid. Please Governor Pence, read the ACA and the section that requires that states start to pickup the costs associated with the ACA as it relates to Medicaid Coverage. Eventually Indiana Tax Payers will be footing the bill for the Pence Plan. Please Governor Pence, tell us about the plan after the federal money stops flowing into your proposed plan.

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    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
    ADVERTISEMENT

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
     
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. Angela IS the best RD

    2. We are a nation of speed. All of our younger lives are filled with deadlines, quotas and bottom lines. We start to ease out of the pressured rat-race when we finally see "retirement." The most enjoyable travel on the planet is passenger rail service. Indy to Chicago does not beat Megabus or Southwest Airlines in speed. Passenger rail however has the best seating, mammoth legroon, seat backs that recline to more than 45 degrees and employers that really want you to return as a customer. Indiana municipalities need to maintain subsidies to support this transportation mode. Losing it is loss for all of us.

    3. Good day! I just want to testify how i got my loan from Mr. Eric Lefkofsky after i applied several times from various loan lenders who claimed to also testify right in this forum,i thought the testimonies where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan. Until a friend of mine introduce me to this popular Mr. Eric Lefkofsky who promised to help me and indeed he did as he promised without any form of delay. I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr. Eric lefkofsky who indeed helped me with the loan and changed my belief. I promised to share this testimony after I got my loan. I don't know if you are in any way in need of a genuine and urgent loan,free feel to contact Mr. Eric Lefkofsky via their email{grouponfunding@hotmail.com}

    4. Its a THUG issue. Bleecker Street and NYX are thug bars. They attract thugs of all races. Places that attract thugs need to be kicked out of Broad Ripple. Ain't nobody got time for that!

    5. Hello everyone, My name is Marian Gareth, I am from the Texas, United State, am here to testify of how i got my loan from Mr Andre Frank {frankloancompany@yahoo.com} after i applied Two times from various loan lenders who claimed to be lenders right in this forum,i thought their lending where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan.Until a friend of mine introduce me to Mr Andre Frank the C.E.O of Andre Frank Loan Company who promised to help me with a loan of my desire and he really did as he promised without any form of delay, I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr Andre Frank, who really help me with my loan and changed my lief for better. I don't know if you are in need of an urgent loan, free feel to contact Mr Andre Frank on his email{ Frankloancompany@yahoo.com} for help

    ADVERTISEMENT