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Pence pushes Medicaid alternative with HHS chief

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Gov. Mike Pence has told U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell that he wants to maintain Indiana's "freedom and flexibility" under any expansion of Medicaid.

Pence said his meeting with Burwell on Wednesday went well and that the two sides are still negotiating.

Pence spent the day in Washington, D.C., seeking federal approval of his proposed state-run alternative to traditional Medicaid to expand health care coverage for low-income residents.

If approved, the program would cover up to 458,000 low-income residents without health insurance.

The Republican governor is scheduled to meet with members of the state's congressional delegation on Thursday before returning to Indiana.

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  • Savings Accounts?
    Jonathon - I think you have overlooked the requirement for a medical savings account. I am not sure how this plays into the latest version of HIP and affordability. But I suspect that most people depending on Medicaid or some Indiana version of Medicaid cannot afford savings accounts. It sounds good but is not practical under the circumstances. A low co-pay is probably the most affordable element of an affordable plan.
  • HIP 2.0 is affordable
    The deductible is entirely paid by the POWER account. No one ever has to contribute more than $25/month into the POWER account and it is often less. The only cost not paid out of the POWER account is the ER copay ($8-25) for non-emergent use of the ER. And under HIP 2.0, if a member calls the toll-free, 24 hour nurse line, and the nurse tells them to go to the ER, the copay is waived. It's also waived if the member is admitted to the hospital. Honestly, although it is certainly not "free" - I think Indiana has created a decent plan for the currently uninsured. Also consider that if a member obtains preventive care, she can lower her monthly contribution for the next year. Non-profits may pay up to 75% of the contribution on behalf of the member, and the member's employer may pay up to 50% of the contribution.
    • multi task
      I wonder if the governor could multi-task and talk to CMS about helping Indiana get our state based exchange going so Hoosiers don't lose subsidy if the court decision holds. One option I've seen is for states to contract with healthcare.gov. Or maybe Indiana isn't really interested in healthcare insurance coverage for Hoosiers.
    • HIP 2.0 Works Against Affordability
      The HIP has high deductibles and called for medical savings accounts neither of which promotes affordability. Moreover, the proposed plan puts Indiana citizens at a disadvantage over citizens of other states that do not have these so-called "freedom and flexibility" requirements.
      • Not necessarily. .
        Healthy Indiana Plan has gotten pretty good reviews from both providers and participants so it could be an effective method of extending Medicaid coverage under the ACA. The devil will be in the details - and it is concerning that after all these months of negotiations there is still no agreement reached between the State and HHS. Seems like it shouldn't be this difficult. Perhaps Pence is just keeping it in the news for his presidential primary hopes without really desiring to reach an agreement with HHS?
      • Here we go again
        "Freedom and Flexibility" means screw the poor

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