Photo: flickr/Alex E. Proimos
The head of Indiana’s House Public Health Committee says he hopes to pass legislation during the upcoming session that finds a middle ground between the state and the federal government over healthcare coverage expansion in the state.
Governor Mike Pence and federal Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are scheduled to meet in February to discuss ongoing healthcare expansion negotiations. Pence says his position has been and will be expanding healthcare using a program similar to the Healthy Indiana Plan or HIP, the state’s health insurance program for low-income Hoosiers.
“I’m a hundred percent committed to consumer-driven healthcare as a model in Indiana,” Pence said. ” I simply think it’s better for people’s health and well being. I think it’s better for the fiscal health of the state.”
But Health Committee Chair Ed Clere says that will likely remain the biggest sticking point between the state and the federal government. HIP uses POWER accounts, which customers must pay into as part of the program. The federal government isn’t in favor of that system. But Clere says there are ways to promote personal responsibility that don’t necessarily require consumers to pay in:
“Wellness programs, wellness incentives,” Clere said. “Something that I’ve been talking about a lot lately is building in a financial literacy piece.”
Clere says he thinks there’s a growing recognition in the House Republican caucus that the legislature must do something this session to address the healthcare needs of low- and middle-income Hoosiers.