HHS Secretary Stands By Federal Review Of HIP 2.0

Jan 15, 2016

Secretary General Sylvia Burwell (above) says the HHS isn't prejudging the Healthy Indiana Plan.
Credit OEA - OAS / https://www.flickr.com/photos/oasoea/15392006802

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell is shrugging off Republican complaints about a federal review of Indiana's state-run health insurance plan.

Burwell, who was visiting Indianapolis, says it's indisputable that the HIP expansion has meant health coverage for more Hoosiers, but says at least 30 states have gotten federal waivers to put their own stamp on health insurance plans, and says it's important to get objective measurements of which innovations are working and which aren't.

Burwell says the Healthy Indiana Plan expansion has clearly done some good things.

“What I think we do know right now is folks are getting covered and that’s a terrific thing. And we’re excited about that because many people will no longer be uninsured because of that expansion,” Burwell says. “Excited to see what’s working, build on it and understand if there are things that need to be improved.”

Indiana Reps. Larry Bucshon (R-8th) and Susan Brooks (R-5th) and Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell recently asking her to cancel a federal review of HIP 2.0.

The lawmakers say the state has already commissioned its own outside review, and they charge the federal contractor, the Urban Institute, is biased against the program because the organization has criticized the health savings accounts at its center.

But Burwell says HHS isn’t prejudging the Healthy Indiana Plan.

“We want to try new things. We want to innovate. We’re trying lots of different things with different states through the waiver process and that’s what we did here in Indiana,” Burwell says. “So what we want to do is do the measurement and understand what’s working.”

Burwell was in Indianapolis to showcase the federal health care law and remind people of the approaching open enrollment deadline at the end of the month.