Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pence Granted One-Year Extension for Healthy Indiana

Governor Pence has been granted a one-year extension of his pilot of Healthy Indiana, which provides insurance for about 36,000 low-income Hoosiers. The decision allows Pence to continue his continue "a good faith dialogue and discussions with federal officials" about the extension of Medicaid which would provide better insurance for 400,000 uninsured citizens. Governor Pence sees this as a victory; House minority leader Scott Pelath doesn't: "The governor is basically saying he’s willing to let 400,000 people remain uninsured in this state. He’s willing to tell them that their only choice for healthcare is to go to the emergency room, which is costly, wildly chaotic and expensive and passed on to the other taxpayers and premium payers."

(According to the Indianapolis Star, Pelath's characterization of Pence's "emergency room" solution is pretty accurate; the Star reports, "Pence told reporters that the Healthy Indiana Plan is not the only resort for uninsured Hoosiers. He said they can also apply for hospital charity care, or if they have serious health problems, they can 'walk into an emergency room and receive health care.'")

Pelath says Medicaid, with funding from the Affordable Care Act, is the only program that can significantly expand coverage for low-income Hoosiers: “And the fact is, they just don’t want to do it. And they don’t have a good reason; it’s purely about politics and posturing and it has nothing to do with actually making people’s lives better.” Read more from WBAA here.