(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Governor Mike Pence is solidifying his stance against a Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, in Indiana.
In a letter send to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday, Pence flatly refused to expand the traditional Medicaid program. He asks for federal approval to use the Healthy Indiana Plan – a health insurance program for uninsured adults created by Governor Mitch Daniels and state lawmakers in 2007 – to instead cover 400,000 Hoosiers for three years, the maximum extension allowed.
"Medicaid is broken," said Pence. "In Indiana, an expansion of traditional Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would cost our taxpayers upwards of $2 billion over the next seven years."
The governor asks that HIP be used as the starting point for all future healthcare reform discussions in Indiana. The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration has filed a waiver with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Wednesday, too.
Pence said HIP, which he claims has bi-partisan support, has performed well in its six years. Ninety-four percent of HIP members are satisfied with the program, and 99 percent say they would re-enroll, the governor’s office reported.
The federal government should be more open to allowing states flexibility to come up with Medicaid programs that meet citizens’ needs.
"Greater flexibility would help states create and manage a program that is consistent with their local values and overcome the bureaucratic and inefficient nature of traditional Medicaid," said Pence.
The HHS and CMMS have not yet responded to Indiana’s request.