Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

State's Failure to Expand Medicaid Sets Up Potential Disaster ; COMMUNITY COMMENT

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

State's Failure to Expand Medicaid Sets Up Potential Disaster ; COMMUNITY COMMENT

Article excerpt

A medical epidemic is one of the worst scenarios a hospital can face - when a significant portion of the population is suddenly struck with a life-threatening illness. Indiana is facing the equivalent of an epidemic that threatens the health of our people: nearly 15 percent of our state's population is without health insurance. Of the 860,000 Hoosiers at risk from a medical and economic disaster because they lack health insurance, more than half are children from low-income families.

But, we can do something to prevent this epidemic.

Using $10.5 billion in matching funds from the federal government, Indiana can expand coverage to 300,000 uninsured Indiana residents - your friends and neighbors who have fallen into the dreaded coverage gap. They are the hardworking Hoosiers who earn too much income to qualify for traditional Medicaid, but not enough to qualify for tax credits and subsidies through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

When more Hoosiers have access to health care, we all benefit from lower premiums. And hospitals can protect existing high- paying jobs, as well as create new ones to serve a growing market of health care consumers.

Twenty-six other states have already chosen to expand coverage, including those bordering Indiana - Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois.

We want to do this the Hoosier way, using a responsible and fiscally sound design based on the Healthy Indiana Plan, which currently provides health care benefits for 40,000 enrollees and is a proven success.

How would we pay for such an expansion? We already are.

Each of us is paying for coverage expansion in the form of federal tax dollars. By agreeing to expand coverage, we can bring those tax dollars back into our state to fund coverage for 300,000 Indiana residents. As a result, the average family would save as much as $677 in annual premiums.

Businesses would save substantial monies as well. According to a report by Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, large employers may be required to pay higher federal tax penalties in states that choose not to expand coverage - as high as $34 million here in Indiana. …

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