House Speaker Brian Bosma’s decision to appoint a doctor to lead the Indiana House Ways and Means committee is no coincidence, healthcare policy experts and legislators say. The state will soon face tough decisions about how to implement the affordable care act during upcoming budget talks, and how to pay for the law will be a top priority.
Bosma made it clear Tuesday he recognizes the growing impact healthcare will have on the state budget as he introduced the new chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
“An individual who has the time, integrity and knowledge to step into this role I have chosen, is Doctor Representative Tim Brown,” Bosma said Tuesday.
While Bosma acknowledged not everybody in the statehouse agrees with the Affordable Care Act, he stressed its implementation is something the general assembly must deal with.
IUPUI Law Professor David Orentlicher says the way Indiana chooses to implement the federally mandated healthcare exchange will significantly impact the budget.
“The more control the state has, if the state retains control, the state bears more of the costs, and if it allows the federal government to run it, the federal government will pick up the costs,” he says.
Orentlicher says the exchanges will work much like travel sites such as Expedia or Orbitz, but instead of buying plane tickets and hotels, customers will be able to compare and purchase health insurance.
He says Indiana will also have to decide whether to expand its Medicaid coverage. If it does, the federal government will pay for all new Medicaid patients for the first few years, but the state would have to shoulder some of the costs, starting in 2016.