Republicans In Pence’s Indiana Warn Of Obamacare Repeal Fallout

Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long, left, R-Fort Wayne, and House Speaker Brian C. Bosma R-Indianapolis, discuss their plans for clarifying the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act during a news confere... Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long, left, R-Fort Wayne, and House Speaker Brian C. Bosma R-Indianapolis, discuss their plans for clarifying the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act during a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Monday, March 30, 2015. Republican legislative leaders in Indiana state say they are working on adding language to a new state law to make it clear that it doesn't allow discrimination against gays and lesbians. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Republican legislative leaders in Indiana are warning that repealing the Affordable Care Act could unravel a program for poor residents that Vice President Mike Pence implemented as governor, a conservative blueprint for expanding Medicaid under the federal law.

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and GOP Senate leader David Long both said this week that tens of thousands of poor people could lose their insurance if Republicans in Washington enact some of the ideas they’re discussing for repealing President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

“It’s reality hitting home,” Long, a Republican from Fort Wayne, said Wednesday. “… The issue of the working poor is real. It’s not going to be easy.”

Pence has been a persistent critic of the law since serving in Congress before he became Indiana governor. But one of his legacy achievements after becoming governor in 2013 was an expansion Medicaid in the state, which overwhelmingly relies on money made available under the Affordable Care Act.

The program, called HIP 2.0, has covered roughly 400,000 people and was designed by Seema Verma, a key health policy adviser to Pence who is President Donald Trump’s pick to oversee the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It also counts on the federal government for at least 90 percent of its funding.

Indiana recently launched an ad campaign to promote the benefits of the plan. A billboard near the state capitol that previously carried an ad criticizing Pence was papered over with an ad for HIP 2.0.

In order to enact his own conservative vision for health care in Indiana, Pence sought — and was granted — a federal waiver.

He wanted to make sure poor people demonstrated personal responsibility and had “skin in the game” by paying small monthly fees for coverage. It’s an approach had been touted as a model other Republican-controlled states could adopt. A similar approach was adopted in Kentucky under GOP Gov. Matt Bevin.

A spokesman for the vice president did not respond to a request for comment.

On Wednesday, Pence told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that “we don’t want anyone to fall through the cracks,” especially not “the most disadvantaged citizens among us.”

But changes under consideration by congressional Republicans would significantly reduce federal funding for Medicaid and subsidize private insurance, creating funding gaps for states and threatening a loss of coverage for many participants, according to a report by the consulting firms Avalere Health and McKinsey & Company

States like Indiana that expanded Medicaid would face the deepest cuts.

“It’s not shocking to me that the federal government might not fully fund something they said they were going to,” said Bosma, an Indianapolis Republican. “We’ll have to reevaluate the program the number of clients it serves.”

Some Republican governors have voiced concern that a repeal of the ACA would have a disastrous effect on poor people, some of which are Trump supporters.

Pence’s hand-picked replacement, new Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has yet to weigh in on his preference. A spokeswoman for the governor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Latest News

Notable Replies

  1. GOP governors: We like to think of Medicaid as Medicaid-W and Medicaid-B - WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE - and while we don’t mind if he rescinds the latter from states like New York or California, we feel entitled to the former.

  2. "
    In order to enact his own conservative vision for health care in Indiana, Pence sought — and was granted — a federal waiver."

    And that’s what many Republicans who criticize the ACA as “one size fits all” refuse to admit – the Obama administration was extremely flexible with Republican states that wanted to tinker with Medicaid expansion. About ten such states were granted waivers.

    The Obama administration knew partially privatizing Medicaid would make it less cost-effective because of the insertion of a middleman private insurer, but they were willing to be flexible; their paramount concern was expanding access to health care.

  3. And in just about every case, the alternative cost more and covered less than if they had just left it alone and gone with the plain Medicaid expansion. Sigh…

  4. Agree, but the GOP politicos want their cut too.

Continue the discussion at forums.talkingpointsmemo.com

Participants

Avatar for system1 Avatar for randyabraham Avatar for kumquat16 Avatar for coprophagoussmile

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: