Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Candidates Study Options Ahead of Health Care Policy Announcements ; CAPITOL BUREAU

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Candidates Study Options Ahead of Health Care Policy Announcements ; CAPITOL BUREAU

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - How Indiana should handle implementing the health care law truly is in the next governor's hands after a recent decision by federal officials. Gov. Mitch Daniels' administration has been waiting since the law passed for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to rule on whether the Healthy Indiana Plan - an initiative launched under Daniels - can continue.

He sees it as a cheaper program that requires participants to pay small amounts into health savings accounts, and incentivizes preventive care. He's suggested using it to cover the Medicaid expansion envisioned by the health care law.

However, instead of giving the state the green light to do that, federal officials gave Indiana just a one-year extension of the plan - postponing until later, perhaps 2013, a final decision on whether the Healthy Indiana Plan can be used for Medicaid.

"We're disappointed that after two years, Indiana still does not have an answer about the longterm future of HIP," said

Michael Gargano, the secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

"We will be forced to make a difficult decision about continuing HIP enrollment for a program that likely won't exist after 2013. States have been seeking answers and flexibility, and this response hampers innovation and efforts to plan."

The leading candidates for governor have made sure to stay in listening mode since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states not only get to decide whether to set up their own insurance exchanges, but also whether to expand Medicaid.

Libertarian Rupert Boneham's campaign met with Daniels' staff to learn more about the "benchmarks" that would be involved in determining the minimum level of coverage for plans that are offered in the state. …

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