INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Statehouse Democrats want Indiana’s congressional delegation to defend
former Gov. Mike Pence’s expansion of the state’s Medicaid program from
proposed GOP cuts backed by President Donald Trump.
A proposal in
Congress to overhaul former President Barack Obama’s signature health care
law would lead to Medicaid cuts estimated at $880 billion through 2026,
according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Indiana House
Democrats warn that could have “dire” results in Indiana.
The current vice
president’s Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 expanded Medicaid in 2015 with
increased funding made available under the Affordable Care Act.
The program relies
on the federal government for at least 90 percent of its funding and covers
more than 400,000 poor people in Indiana.
In a letter sent to
the delegation, House Democrats voice concern for those who receive health
insurance through Pence’s Indiana program, roughly six percent of state
“We have met few
Hoosiers who want to lose their health care coverage, see Medicare slashed,
endure health care job losses or see family members suffer needlessly,” they
Indiana was one of
31 states to take advantage of the available funding and expand state
Medicaid programs. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and other Republicans are
asking Congress to spare Medicaid funding as they overhaul the health care
“I want to make
sure that we’re compassionate and cover the Hoosiers that we are right now,”
Holcomb said earlier this week. “I completely believe we need to fix the
Affordable Care Act and (House Republican’s) repeal was the right first
step. But the devil is always in the details.”
According to the
congressional nonpartisan analysis, 14 million Americans would lose coverage
next year under the proposal. Even before the analysis was released, GOP
legislative leaders warned of potential coverage losses in Indiana.
The state needs to
be prepared to mitigate damages and reduce the pain caused if the bill
passes, House Democratic leader Scott Pelath said.
His caucus’ letter
calls for “serious answers” on how HIP coverage and overall health care
policy could be affected, urging the delegation to consult a bipartisan
group of Indiana lawmakers. “We would hope that Vice President Pence, not
long removed from our state, would be the first person in Washington D.C. to
understand the serious implications that could threaten this landmark of our
state’s health care policy,” they wrote. “Regardless, we know that every
official from our state has an ability to do the right thing by our