Indiana House Minority Leader Rep. Scott Pelath
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Indiana lawmakers will begin delving into a plan to enact the federal Affordable Care Act this week.
The House and Senate will hold hearings Wednesday to explore the costs and benefits of a Medicaid expansion. One of the key questions is whether to create a state-run insurance exchange, or allow the federal government to handle it.
Governor Mike Pence, who voted against the ACA when he was in U.S. Congress, has voiced support for the federally-run exchange for Medicaid expansion. His budget proposal unveiled in January did not provide any state funding for an expansion.
Majority Republicans in the House and Senate have largely ignored healthcare reform so far in the 2013 lawmaking session. On Friday, House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) called on the GOP to get moving.
“The issue of the Affordable Care Act is settled. U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts—who is from Indiana—upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. President Obama—who created the program—was reelected. We are now in the phase where we make sure we full take care of this landmark legislation,” Pelath said.
Unlike Pence, Indiana Democrats support a state-run program.
“We’re going to make sure that Hoosiers are going to run it the way that’s best for Hoosiers, and we want to debate a statewide exchange for implementation of the Affordable Care Act and making sure that every Hoosier gets covered in a way that Hoosiers believe is important,” said Pelath.
Related bills in the House and Senate will receive their first hearings Wednesday. The House Public Health Committee will take up House Bill 1591 at 3:30 p.m. The Senate Health and Provider Services Committee will consider Senate Bill 551 at 8:30 a.m.