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Senate Passes Bill To Keep Medicaid Expansion Options Open

Republicans favor a Medicaid expansion plan that includes several parts of the existing Healthy Indiana Plan, but the state is waiting for word on whether the federal government would allow such a program to receive federal aid.

State lawmakers say debate and discussion about how to implement federal health care reform in Indiana can continue within legislation approved by the Senate on Tuesday.

The legislation, passed by an overwhelming majority, directs the state to continue negotiating with the federal government in an effort to receive federal Medicaid dollars in block grant form. That would give the state greater flexibility as it implements the Affordable Care Act.

While the bill does not specifically mention the Healthy Indiana Plan, the state’s health insurance program for low-income Hoosiers, it does include many of the key components of HIP, including health-savings accounts that consumers pay into for their own healthcare. The bill’s author, Senator Pat Miller (R-Indianapolis), says work on the bill is far from over.

“I do appreciate the attitude that everyone has had as we’ve talked about and negotiated this, and I’m sure the bill will continue to be amended as it moves through the process,” she says.

Several Senate Democrats, though opposed to the provisions of the bill, voted for it to keep the issue alive. The bill now moves to the House.

Speaker Brian Bosma indicated the discussion on Affordable Care Act implementation will involve the House, Senate and Governor Mike Pence.

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