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Pence, Feds Still Have Differences On Health Care Expansion

Gov. Mike Pence speaks at a tax conference.

Governor Mike Pence says there are scenarios in which Indiana might not move ahead with health care expansion.

The governor says “differences remain” between the state and federal government over the way to expand health care coverage in Indiana after meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell last week.

Pence has long ruled out using federal dollars from the Affordable Care Act to expand traditional Medicaid.

Instead, he’s pushing  use of the Healthy Indiana Plan as a vehicle to deliver affordable health insurance to around 300 thousand Hoosiers within the coverage gap.

This year, the state modified the program in its proposal dubbed HIP 2.0.

Pence met with new HHS Secretary Burwell in Washington last week after submitting the proposal to the feds.  He says the two sides have committed to keep talking as 2015 approaches without a plan in place.

“For me, it’s more important to get it right than get it done at any particular time,” Pence says.

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane says Hoosiers should be concerned another year will come without healthcare expansion, and he says Pence should have known there would be issues on which the federal government wouldn’t give in.

“Whether it was the issue of co-pays, premium payments, the health savings accounts,” Lanane says. “[Pence should] have some willingness to move off of those issues in terms of the amounts that have to paid by the consumer or what have you.”

Pence says he made it clear the state would likely reconsider moving forward with expansion if the federal government tries to water down the essential consumer-driven portions of HIP 2.0, including requiring some people in the program to contribute to health savings accounts.

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