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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