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How The Senate Healthcare Debate Affects Indiana

Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote earlier this week for the Senate to move forward on debating the bill intended to repeal the ACA.

This week, the U.S. Senate voted on various plans to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell was successful in getting Republicans to move forward on debating the health care bill, with the tie-breaking vote cast by Vice President Mike Pence.

However, two plans to repeal and replace or partially repeal Obamacare were rejected by Democrats and a handful of Republicans.

Senator John McCain delivered the decisive vote defeating the Republican’s final effort to approve a slimmed-down repeal plan.

This week on Noon Edition, our panel discussed the state of healthcare and how Indiana could be affected.

Earlier today President Donald Trump tweeted in response to the failed Republican effort saying “As I said from the beginning, let Obamacare implode, then deal.”

Director of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan Dr. Robert Stone disagreed with Republican notion that Obama care is failing and said the failure comes from for-profit health insurance companies.

“That’s the issue that has failed in Obamacare because you cannot cover more people without having some kind of mandate. You cannot take care of people who have pre-existing conditions,” Stone said. “And how can you say you have a health care system where people with pre-existing conditions, which means where sick people can’t get taken care of? That is an absurdity.”

IU Law Professor David Gamage pointed out that the exchange was working in certain parts of the country and could still be improved.

“Without further congressional or dramatic executive branch action, I would expect more of the same. A mediocre moving through, where the exchanges continue to see price hikes such that they don’t offer great insurance products, but still offer reasonable insurance products,” Gamage said. “That’s not the best of all worlds, but it’s not the worst of all worlds either.”

In terms of what the repeal plan would have affected Medicaid, Republicans have pushed capping Medicaid growth rate and sending it to states in the form of block grants.

Some argue block grants would allow states more flexibility and innovation with less government mandates on how the money should be spent.

Former chair of the Indiana House Public Health Committee and State Representative Ed Clere pointed out most of Medicaid in Indiana and other states is not spent on Medicaid expansion.

“These proposals in Congress would have disproportionately harmed seniors and people with disabilities. So when we talk about block granting or capping Medicaid spending and allowing states to innovate with the idea that somehow we’re going to make it up … It’s just not realistic.”


Dr. Rob Stone: Director and founder of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan

Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany: Indiana State Representative District 72

David Gamage: Law Professor, IU Maurer School of Law

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