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Pence Hopes To Expand Healthcare In Next Session

One of Governor Pence's goals for the 2014 session is to work with the federal government to expand healthcare for low income Hoosiers.

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Photo: flickr/Alex E. Proimos

Pence wants to expand healthcare in Indiana.

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.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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  • Bob Eckert

    I think the Republicans are disingenuous about this effort because they realize that the Affordable Care Act is succeeding even in Indiana (using the Federally created marketplace exchange) and that means a huge increase in income for Anthem/Bluse Cross-Blue Shield, who completely dominates Indiana’s market, and ultimately that means that the state has less influence over Anthem and it’s pricing (and the Federal government gains more) which could turn out very badly (I hope) for the Republicans who dominate our state in the 2014 elections.

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