INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday named an attorney with
health care regulatory experience to run Indiana’s human services agency as
it prepares for an expected wave of new Medicaid recipients.
Pence tapped Debra Minott to be secretary of the Family and Social Services
Administration, which administers Medicaid, food stamps and other benefits
and services to seniors, children, people with disabilities and those who
are mentally ill.
"I’ve said many times over the years that the best welfare program is a
good-paying job,” Pence said. “But our administration is equally committed
to make sure that Hoosiers compassionately provide the assistance and
services that struggling Hoosiers need as they strive to find work and get
ahead through difficult times.”
Republican House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Tim Brown said this week
the cost of the state’s current Medicaid program was projected to grow by
between 11 percent and 17 percent over the next two years because of the new
federal health insurance individual mandate.
Pence said Minott’s work in the private sector and as former Gov. Mitch
Daniels’ first personnel director qualified her for one of the state’s
highest-profile and most-demanding jobs.
The Carmel resident has been vice president and associate general counsel
for Batesville medical device Hill-Rom, where her duties included managing
health care regulatory matters. She’s also a former senior counsel at
Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co.
David Sklar, president of the Indiana Coalition of Human Services, said he
knew little about Minott’s background but said members of the coalition of
advocacy groups were looking forward to working with her.
Pence also named Gina Sheets to lead the Agriculture Department, where she
has been director of economic development and international trade. Before
joining the agency, she served as economic Development Director and CEO of
the Clinton County Chamber of Commerce. She and her husband Travis own a
Clinton County farm where they raise pasture poultry and beef, free range
hens, rainbow trout and produce.
“Our ag industry is strong, but it also has some tremendous potential,” said
Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, who oversees the state’s agriculture efforts.
“We’ll focus heavily on economic development and innovation including
competitive tax structure for farmers, growing international opportunities
and ... a food and agriculture innovation corridor.”
Building such a corridor in Indiana is recommended in a recent industry
report, she said.
Pence also said he will travel to Washington to represent Indiana at Obama’s
second inauguration on Sunday.
He said he and his wife, Karen, have a “target move date” of Feb. 2 for
relocating to the Governor’s Residence on Indianapolis’s north side.
“We’re looking very much forward to taking that opportunity to move into the
Governor’s Residence, and make that our home over the next four years,”