— Indiana's effort to cover uninsured residents through a state-run health
program instead of an expansion of Medicaid took another step forward
Thursday when Gov. Mike Pence unveiled a proposal that he said would cover
350,000 residents if approved by the federal government.
Pence's "HIP 2.0"
is an altered version of the state's Healthy Indiana Plan, which currently
provides health savings accounts to about 40,000 people. Indiana has been
seeking federal approval to use the program, which was established in 2008
under former Gov. Mitch Daniels, as its vehicle to cover more uninsured
Pence has long
objected to an expansion of Medicaid, which he calls "broken" and a
"fiscal monstrosity." Indiana has been seeking a waiver from President
Barack Obama's health reform law to use the Healthy Indiana Plan instead,
but federal officials have objected to some of the program's requirements,
including a provision that recipients contribute the first $1,100 toward
their care. A one-year extension of the Healthy Indiana Plan expires Dec.
proposal, which Pence unveiled at Indiana University Health's Methodist
Hospital in Indianapolis, would offer two tiers of coverage. The first
would provide very limited coverage at little or no cost to those below
100 percent of the federal poverty level. A higher level dubbed HIP Plus
would include dental and vision coverage, a comprehensive drug program and
maternity services. Participants would pay $3 to $25 per month, based on
A third option
would give workers who can't afford their employers' health care can help
with their premiums from the state.
would use federal funds and expand the state's hospital assessment fee to
cover the cost.
Pence said the
expansion of the Healthy Indiana Plan would help low-income residents be
personally responsible for their health, unlike traditional Medicaid. The
plan also includes a program that will connect HIP recipients with
state-sponsored job training and job search programs.
"HIP is not
intended to be an entitlement. It is a safety net program that aligns
incentives with human aspirations," Pence said.
He described his
visits with patients around the state, including a woman named Diana who
had held off going to the hospital for treatment because she lacked health
"I think Diana is
like a lot of Hoosiers who don't want a handout; they want a hand up," he
needs approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which
administers the federal health reform law. Pence said Indiana will submit
its plan by the end of June.
Democrats, who have been asking Pence to expand Medicaid for well more
than a year, gave the proposal a tepid response Thursday.
"I respect that
this plan aligns with his personal beliefs, but I have serious concerns
that it is an untested proposal that will still fail to provide critical
health coverage to thousands of Hoosiers," said U.S. Rep. Andre Carson,
D-Indianapolis, in a statement.