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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - Indiana secures one-year waiver for the state-run insurance program, will push 11,000 current enrollees off its rolls; Michigan moves in other direction

That from Maureen Hayden's CNHI story today on yesterday's announcement by Governor Pence. Some quotes:

On Tuesday, Gov. Mike Pence announced the decision by the Obama administration to grant a limited extension to the state-run insurance program through the end of 2014. As part of the agreement, Indiana will lower the income level for eligibility for the program, pushing about 11,000 current enrollees off its rolls. * * *

While 25 states have opted to expand the traditional Medicaid program using federal dollars to cover their uninsured citizens, Pence has resisted doing so. On Tuesday, he repeated his opposition to expanding the Medicaid program, citing concerns about long-term costs to the state.

Pence minimized concerns about the state’s estimated 300,000 uninsured residents who won’t be eligible for HIP or to buy the subsidized private health insurance that will be available through a federal health exchange program next year.

He said the uninsured can still access health care through hospitals’ charity care programs, emergency rooms, and public and privately funded clinics that serve the poor.

“Let’s make sure there is a distinction in the language between health insurance and health care,” he said. “Every person in this state has the ability, if they are struggling with illness to walk into an emergency room and receive care.”

That remark provoked a sharp rebuke from the House Minority Leader Scott Pelath of Michigan City.

"What we're seeing today is something being trumpeted as a success, when in essence it is a complete failure," Pelath said. "The continuation of coverage for a few people does nothing to move Indiana forward, it still leaves these people uninsured." * * *

Under the deal struck with the federal government to extend the HIP program until the end of 2014, the state will lower the income eligibility for participants, from the current 200 percent of the federal poverty level down to 100 percent, which is about $23,000 for a family of four.

That change will push about 11,000 current HIP participants off the program. Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Debra Minott said those persons will receive a letter recommending hey purchase private health insurance through a federally-managed health insurance exchange that goes online next month.

Moving those people off HIP will then allow FSSA to bring another 5,000 to 7,000 people who meet the new income requirements into the program.

Rep. Ed Clere of New Albany, the Republican chairman of the House Public Health Committee, called the federal approval of the HIP extension “good news.” But he said it falls far short of what’s needed to cover the estimated 300,000 Hoosiers who won’t have access to health insurance coverage. And he said it doesn’t address The hundreds of millions of dollars that hospitals lose each year, providing uncompensated health care to poor and uninsured patients.

Niki Kelly's Fort Wayne Journal Gazette story today also has this quote:
But House Democrat Leader Scott Pelath said “the stubbornness demonstrated by this administration on the Affordable Care Act would put a mule to shame, and for no reason at all.

“They continue to be unwilling and unable to do anything to seriously discuss a plan that will assure millions of Hoosier tax dollars return to our state to make health care affordable.”

Also yesterday, the State of Michigan went in the opposite direction - some might remark, perhaps this is where the Indiana money will go ...

The Detroit Free Press today has a lengthy story by Kathleen Gray headed "Delay in Medicaid expansion to cost Michigan $7M a day in lost federal funds." Some quotes:

LANSING — After months of often-heated debate, the state House took final action Tuesday on a plan to expand Medicaid health care coverage to 470,000 low-income Michiganders, voting 75-32 to concur with changes made to the bill by the state Senate.

Final approval didn’t come without hiccups. The Senate failed to give the bill immediate effect, which means that it won’t go into effect until sometime in late March or early April. That delay will end up costing the state an estimated $7 million a day in lost federal funds for the expansion, or more than $630 million if delayed to April. * * *

The bill now goes to the Gov. Rick Snyder, who said earlier Tuesday that he’ll sign the bill when he gets back from a 10-day trade mission to China.

“I would have preferred that it would have gotten immediate effect,” Snyder said. “But this is still a victory for Michiganders.”

House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall said, “We have provided additional coverage for hundreds of thousands of additional Michiganders today. We’re looking out for their health care. Today is a good day.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 4, 2013 09:49 AM
Posted to Indiana Government