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Senate Leaders: Health Care Ruling Impacts Next State Budget

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Photo: Jasont82 (Wikimedia)

Budget discussions in 2013 will be bracketed by Thursday's Affordable Care Act ruling.

With the Affordable Care Act largely upheld by the Supreme Court, a leading Senate Republican says the state’s next budget will have to take that into account. Under the Court’s ruling, states will no longer be forced to expand Medicaid, and will be able to choose whether to cover more people under the government program.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Luke Kenley says whether Indiana participates will depend partly on how the funding structure works, that is, how much of the money comes from the federal government and how much from the state. But he says he’s worried about bringing more people into the program.

“Indiana has one in six Hoosiers that’s on the Medicaid program today and that has become a really heavy burden for the state,” Kenley says. “It’s created a situation where we are unable to fund other programs that we think are very important.”

Anderson Democratic Senator Tim Lanane says he’s looking forward to legislation next session that deals with the Affordable Care Act without fundamentally opposing it:

“I think at some point in time you have to accept that this is what the policy is and deal with it,” Lanane says.

Both Lanane and Kenley agree the state will need more information before making a decision on Medicaid expansion.

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