Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Tuesday became the latest Republican governor to accept an expansion of Medicaid to cover more poor residents under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Like expansions in other Republican-led states, Pence’s plan doesn’t just expand Medicaid, but it uses the federal funding to change the program.
Enrollment starts immediately, and coverage begins February 1st. The expansion eventually will reach 350,000 people, Pence said when announcing federal approval for the proposal at a news conference in Indianapolis. Pence’s program builds on the state’s 7-year-old Healthy Indiana Plan, which currently covers 60,000 people.
GOP governors and legislators in states like Arkansas, Ohio and Pennsylvania have exacted changes to Medicaid for the expansion, including increasing the role of private health insurance plans in Medicaid.
President Barack Obama’s administration is eager to provide Medicaid coverage to as many poor Americans as possible.
28 states (and D.C.) have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (including Indiana).
Pence’s plan is the biggest departure from traditional, government-run Medicaid yet. The so-called Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, as Pence dubbed it, ties benefits to monthly payments by beneficiaries below the poverty line, a first for Medicaid, and includes other features Pence billed as conservative and market-based.
The Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, or HIP 2.0, is based more on private insurance than traditional Medicaid.
Pence’s program builds on the state’s 7-year-old Healthy Indiana Plan, which currently covers people with high-deductible health insurance and health savings accounts. Adults without disabilities who are currently enrolled in traditional Medicaid will be moved to the new Medicaid plan.