Health & Human Services

Another GOP Governor Proposes Expanding Medicaid

May 16, 2014

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, whose rising national profile is feeding 2016 presidential buzz, has become the latest Republican governor to embrace a core component of Obamacare — with a conservative twist.

Pence, like Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie before him, announced a major push Thursday to expand Medicaid under the health care law and follow 26 states that have extended coverage to a larger share of their low-income residents.

Pence outlined a blueprint Thursday for a version of expansion that includes a laundry list of conservative-friendly reforms adopted in other red states. Among them: placing enrollees in private insurance instead of traditional Medicaid, requiring some enrollees to pay modest premiums, conditioning enrollment for some on paying into a health savings account, encouraging unemployed or underemployed beneficiaries to pursue work opportunities and attempting to limit overuse of the emergency room.

At a news conference in an Indianapolis hospital’s auditorium, Pence called his proposal “the kind of health reform that puts working Hoosiers in the driver’s seat.” The proposal is set for a 30-day state review before it heads to Washington for a review by CMS.

If the proposal or some version of it is ultimately approved, it would harness billions of Obamacare dollars to help cover an additional 350,000 low-income residents. The federal government will pay the full cost of expansion through 2016 and gradually require states to pay up to 10 percent in subsequent years.

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