updated: 8/31/2012 2:24:12 PM
Indiana Democrat gubernatorial candidate John Gregg says he favors a health care exchange run by a federal-state partnership. In response to Governor Mitch Daniels' request for input from all three candidates, Gregg says the option will reduce the state's financial investment in the program.
August 31, 2012
Indianapolis, Ind. -- Indiana gubernatorial candidate John Gregg and lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Vi Simpson met with Governor Daniels earlier this week to discuss implementation of the Affordable Care Act. In response to the meeting, Gregg sent the following letter to Governor Daniels:
Dear Governor Daniels:
Thank you for providing an opportunity to meet and discuss outstanding issues related to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. This is a subject that will affect every Hoosier, and as someone who has beaten cancer, I deeply understand the importance of health insurance. Safeguarding the healthcare of Hoosiers is not a game. If given the opportunity to govern, my lieutenant governor Vi Simpson and I will protect the best interests of the people of the state and enforce the law in a way that will benefit all Hoosiers.
To be clear, political gamesmanship on an issue that involves matters of life and death for Hoosiers is not wise. Studies show that nearly one million Hoosiers may participate in a new health exchange. Regardless of one’s party affiliation, we need to acknowledge that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. My job as governor will be to protect the best interests of the people of this state and make healthcare more affordable and more accessible for all Hoosiers. The plan I have outlined below will result in a healthier Hoosier workforce, a growing economy and more successful employers.
First, as you know, the federal government is very prescriptive with respect to Essential Health Benefit plans. In order to assist states in the selection of minimum benefits for plans in the Exchange, the federal government has named four options, all of which must cover services in ten different areas. I fully support the Healthy Indiana Plan benefit levels and I appreciate your efforts to expand health insurance coverage for Hoosiers. However, the federal government requires maternity and emergency transportation benefits and HIP does not pay for those services at this time. Indiana's EHB must include the ten required covered services and should include as many non-mandated, but necessary services as possible. Accordingly, I support the selection of an insurance plan that is as close to The Healthy Indiana Plan benefit package as possible.
Second, the federal government has offered Indiana several options in moving forward with an Exchange. We may choose a state-designed and controlled Exchange; we can choose a hybrid system that allows for a partnership with the federal government but still allows for state control; or we can choose a regional partnership with other states. The only other option is for a federally controlled exchange where the state does not have the ability to provide input, but in which its citizens must participate. The latter would force Hoosiers to participate in a national system without any input or control.
At the present time, I believe that the hybrid system is the best option because it not only allows for a federal-state partnership, but it also allows for shared costs, significantly reducing the state's financial investment in the program. My belief is that the most responsible position for the Governor to take is the one that you have been pursuing all along - to meet deadlines and apply for grant monies available to keep all options open to us. Because of your actions, Indiana has already received $8 million to begin this process.
The Supreme Court has spoken and we now know that not participating in the ACA at all is simply not an option. If the state takes no action on these issues, Hoosiers will be left at the mercy of the federal government, without any protections from the state. If we do not to make a choice, Hoosier citizens will pay the price, and the state will still incur additional costs to be covered in the federal exchange. Doing nothing is simply a bad idea for our citizens.
As Governor, I will make tough decisions when they need to be made. Regardless of the decision or the issue, Hoosier voters deserve to know that when I make those decisions, they will not be made because of rigid partisan ideology, but Hoosier practicality. Throughout Indiana's history, commonsense has served us well, and I pledge to continue that tradition.
John R. Gregg
Source: Gregg For Governor