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Affordable Care Act Leads To Cautious Budget Planning

Indiana must implement some aspects of the Affordable Care Act before Mitch Daniels leaves office at the end of this year.

Uncertainty surrounding implementation of the Affordable Care Act looms over the upcoming session of the General Assembly. Fiscal leaders say that uncertainty will necessitate caution when writing the state’s next budget.

Milliman, the actuary hired by the state, predicts Indiana will see its Medicaid costs expand by more than $600 million  over seven years once the Affordable Care Act goes into effect even if the state chooses not to expand its Medicaid eligibility rules.

Senate Appropriations chair Luke Kenley calls the Affordable Care Act a dark cloud looming on the horizon.

“The amounts of money the state of Indiana may have to expend just to pay our share of the Medicaid program could eliminate our opportunity to do anything else,” Kenley says.

Crawfordsville Representative Tim Brown, a doctor and the recently-named chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, says the state needs to take a cautious budgetary approach.

“We want other states to look at the hurdles and the pitfalls and potholes and so maybe we can avoid those so we can avoid some of the expensive missteps,” Brown says.

But Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane says Republican gloom-and-doom predictions may be unfounded.  He says Milliman’s Medicaid cost forecasts don’t take into account health care savings created by the federal law.

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