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Long Predicts HIP 2.0 Rejection, Warns It Could Jeopardize Existing Plan As Well

Sean Lamb

Senate President Pro Tem David Long is warning of far-reaching consequences if the government rejects Indiana's request to expand the Healthy Indiana Plan.

Long and House Speaker Brian Bosma both accuse the Obama Administration of politicizing the debate over Indiana's proposal to use the state's insurance plan as a vehicle for the Medicaid expansion envisioned by the Affordable Care Act. The expansion would make 600-thousand uninsured Hoosiers eligible for the plan, 10 times HIP's current enrollment.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have been considering the application since July. Long predicts the expansion will be rejected -- and, since the administration's objections apparently center on
HIP's reliance on health savings accounts, he warns that would likely spell the end of even the current version of the plan.

"If I was the Obama administration, and a Republican governor came to me and said 'We have a different formula for doing this, more personal responsibility, doesn't crush the taxpayers, but achieves the goal of expanding health coverage,' you'd think they'd jump at it," says Long. "And instead you see this endless political game."

Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services granted a one-year extension of the current HIP while it reviews the expansion proposal. That pushes its expiration date to the end of 2015.

Governor Pence has met with both Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to lobby for approval. Bosma says the administration has briefed leaders on the status of negotiations. He's not making any predictions, but agrees with Long's assessment that there's "a lot of political posturing."

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane says he's still optimistic, but says both sides have to be willing to bend. Pence has been adamant that Indiana will expand Medicaid only if it can do so through the HIP framework. He argues the health savings accounts encourage personal responsibility and has produced better health results among enrollees.