Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Gregg Goes Hybrid on Health Care ; Chides Pence for Refusing Role in Federal Exchange

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Gregg Goes Hybrid on Health Care ; Chides Pence for Refusing Role in Federal Exchange

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - Turning down Indiana's chance to play a role in establishing a health insurance exchange would leave too many decisions in the hands of federal bureaucrats, the Democratic ticket in Indiana's race for governor argued Monday. Former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg and his running mate, state Sen. Vi Simpson, said they are leaning toward pushing for a "hybrid" exchange, with some parts administered by the state and other parts by the federal government.

It's a middle ground between Indiana's other two options: Establish and run its own exchange, at a potential cost of around $50 million per year, or leave the entire process in the hands of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Gregg and Simpson met Monday with Gov. Mitch Daniels and his staff to discuss Indiana's options. The governor had asked each candidate to outline their preference, since the state must give federal officials a plan by Nov. 16 - after the election, but before the next governor takes office.

Gregg said his campaign is "leaning" toward asking Daniels, if they're elected, to tell the federal government that Indiana would like a hybrid exchange. He said the campaign would release its position in writing in the coming days.

They said they are likely to use the Healthy Indiana Plan - a health savings account-based insurance program for low-income Hoosiers that the Daniels administration established - as the minimum level of care that Indiana insurance providers can offer, with maternity care and emergency transportation added to it.

Libertarian Rupert Boneham has also called on Indiana to establish a hybrid exchange. He unveiled his position Friday, calling on the state to use its Healthy Indiana Plan as a baseline for the level of care that must be included in plans offered in the state.

The two Democrats also took shots at their Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, who recently said he believes Indiana should decline to play any role in implementing President Barack Obama's signature law - and spare the cost of running it in the process.

"He makes the choice to abdicate his responsibility and throw Hoosiers under the federal bureaucratic bus, and that's a bus that he adamantly claims he opposes," Simpson said. …

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