IBJNews

RUSTHOVEN: Pence pushes plan to national stature

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

RusthovenA while back, we wrote about Gov. Pence’s efforts to use federal health care dollars for our state’s successful Healthy Indiana Plan, rather than expanding the failure that is Medicaid.

One Obamacare feature makes Medicaid expansion a condition for additional health care funds. Using such funds for anything else requires a federal waiver.

Pence has worked to secure a waiver so Indiana can keep moving forward with HIP. This is about to pay off, with this month’s announcement of a revised program, called HIP 2.0, that will go through the formal waiver process and is likely to be approved.

Pence explained the program, including key differences from (and improvements on) Medicaid, in a thoughtful Wall Street Journal article and an address to the American Enterprise Institute. Typical of today’s politics, however, both the left and some on the right are straining to label his initiative “Medicaid expansion.”

The left does so in an attempt to portray Pence as now recognizing the supposed virtues of Medicaid and even of Obamacare. The Obama administration calls Pence’s proposal a “Medicaid coverage expansion.” Left-leaning Politico headlined its story “Mike Pence Proposes Expanding Indiana Medicaid Plan,” stating “Pence would become the eighth Republican governor to expand his state’s Medicaid program.”

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, weathervane of conventional liberal thinking, titled his column “Indiana’s Gov. Pence taking the Obamacare money and running with it.” In Milbank’s rendering, Pence’s expanding HIP is somehow transformed into “what Obamacare is all about.”

Meanwhile, some on the strident right detect betrayal of conservative principles, as they often do. John Davidson, writing in The Federalist, derided HIP as “merely the latest iteration of full Obamacare Medicaid expansion thinly disguised as a conservative entitlement reform.” Goodness.

Another Federalist column, titled “Mike Pence’s George W. Bush Problem,” discerned in HIP signs that Pence, like Bush, would use “conservative rhetoric to justify a number of very unconservative ideas.”

Heritage Foundation chimed in with a piece proclaiming “Pence’s Indiana Medicaid Decision a Disappointment.” Heritage, once respected, has been transformed by its new president, former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, into a virtual Tea Party pressure group. DeMint’s Heritage spearheaded the “defund Obamacare or shutdown the government” strategy—with DeMint opining “we don’t know” if Obama would veto a defunding bill. Oh, I think we do.

Pence’s critics from left and right are off-target. Only a determined Obama apologist like Milbank could twist a waiver from the act’s Medicaid expansion provisions as being “what Obamacare is all about.” HIP differs markedly from Medicaid; and Obamacare is mainly “about” health insurance mandates that Pence forcefully opposes.

Doubt HIP differs from Medicaid? Well, Indiana’s program includes “placing enrollees in private insurance instead of traditional Medicaid, requiring some enrollees to pay modest premiums, conditioning enrollment for some on paying into a health savings account, encouraging unemployed or underemployed beneficiaries to pursue work opportunities and attempting to limit overuse of the emergency room.”

These Medicaid opposites are listed in the Politico piece that claims Pence is “expanding” Medicaid. The description actually understates key HIP features making it a consumer-driven model that has reduced costs, while encouraging healthier lifestyles and preventive care.

HIP works. Medicaid doesn’t. Pence is making Indiana a model for the nation.•

__________

Rusthoven, an Indianapolis attorney and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, was associate counsel to President Reagan. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Make HIP 2.0 Statewide
    One major concern about HIP has been the report of something like 80% of the enrollees are in Marion County. Time for an effective statewide strategy, if this is the state's healthcare solution.

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. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

ADVERTISEMENT