GOP Gov Wants Personal Meeting With Obama On Medicaid Expansion

October 2, 2014 5:33 p.m.

In an open letter to President Barack Obama, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) said Thursday that he would like to meet personally with him to discuss Pence’s proposal to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.

Under Pence and the Republican-controlled legislature, Indiana was one of more than 20 states initially refused to expand Medicaid this year, leaving 182,000 people uncovered. But Pence, like several other GOP governors, has since opened up to the idea — provided the administration meets his conditions.

Pence has proposed an alternative form of Medicaid expansion, using an existing state program. It includes some provisions that the administration might not be willing to accept. Those would, for example, include allowing coverage to be revoked if an enrollee fails to make payments toward their health care..

“I have been made aware that issues have arisen in my administration’s ongoing discussion with HHS that threaten to compromise the Healthy Indiana Plan’s effectiveness,” Pence wrote in the open letter published by the Journal-Gazette in Fort Wayne. “Our administration will not support efforts to remove or water down the Healthy Indiana Plan’s core principles, essentially changing this proven program into an expansion of traditional Medicaid.”

Pence said he was meeting next week with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, but would like the chance to meet one-on-one with Obama. The president will be in Indiana in Friday, according to WTHR in Indianapolis.

“To that end, I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you briefly on this important matter upon your arrival in Indiana, or at your earliest convenience,” Pence said in the letter. “For the sake of low-income families in my state, I will continue to work in good faith with your administration to expand access to the Healthy Indiana Plan.”

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