Holcomb urges U.S. Senate to repeal, replace Obamacare

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is urging the U.S. Senate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying the law is “crumbling under its own weight” and that people in as many as 60 Indiana counties will be left with just one choice for insurance coverage on the marketplace next year.

Holcomb, a Republican, has long been critical of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, but has previously acknowledged it is a complex issue that could affect a wide swath of people on Medicaid or the federal insurance exchanges.

In a written statement issued Monday afternoon, Holcomb came down firmly on the side of repealing the law and asked Congress to give states greater control of federal health care dollars.

“Premiums are rising, our Hoosier neighbors are losing access, and employers are frustrated by federal overregulation that makes it more difficult for Indiana to put Hoosiers to work,” Holcomb said.

His comments come as President Donald Trump is pressuring Republicans to approve the Senate's health care bill, even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn't yet announced exactly which version of the measure lawmakers would consider this week.

Holcomb said that Medicaid and Medicare are “shattering our federal budget.” More than 30 states expanded their Medicaid programs under the ACA.

Indiana added more than 400,000 low-income people to its Health Indiana Plan 2.0, the state’s version of Medicaid expansion, which requires participants to pay a small amount each month to a fund similar to a health savings account, to encourage them to be more careful in selecting health care.

Last month, two insurance providers—Anthem and MDwise—announced they would pull out of the insurance exchanges in 2018. That move could leave four counties without any provider options on the federal exchange.

“We’ve been working since then to secure another option for Hoosiers in these counties, and I’m confident we will find one,” Holcomb said.

He urged Congress to Indiana put Medicaid funds to work using HIP 2.0 as a model and “give us adequate time to adjust to new funding realities.” He did not say how much money Indiana stands to lose in Medicaid funding if Congress repeals Obamacare.

Indiana’s two senators, like most other senators, are being besieged with phone calls and emails on the issue, on both sides. Sen. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, has said he supports Obamacare but wants to fix certain parts of it. Sen. Todd Young, a Republican, has said he remains undecided on whether to immediately repeal the law and work to replace it later.

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