Health Plan Expansion Attracts Support

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The proposed expansion of the Healthy Indiana Plan already has a key supporter. The Indiana Hospital Association believes it is the "right solution" to help make sure low-income Hoosiers are covered. Also, House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath has reiterated that if the plan works, "we will not dicker over the details." May 15, 2014

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Following the announcement by Governor Mike Pence that the state of Indiana has proposed an expansion of the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), Indiana Hospital Association signaled its support of the HIP 2.0 concept to now be considered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The plan, if approved, could provide health care coverage for up to 350,000 residents who are currently without insurance.

“We’re confident that the HIP 2.0 plan proposed by the Governor is the right solution to the health care crisis facing Hoosier hospitals and patients,” said Doug Leonard, president of Indiana Hospital Association. “We’re more hopeful than ever we will soon bring greater health care coverage to those who need it most.”

As proposed, there will be three packages that make up the HIP 2.0 umbrella: HIP Link, HIP Plus and HIP Basic. Benefits include higher reimbursement rates for providers to ensure better access for patients, essential services such as maternity care and mental health treatment and elimination of the waiting list that had been part of the first HIP program.

IHA and its members have been supportive of a fiscally responsible approach to expand coverage, and will provide financial support for the program through an existing provider fee program. Coupled with the tobacco tax revenue dedicated to the current HIP program, this expansion will use limited state resources to leverage billions in federal matching dollars. By bringing those tax dollars back to Indiana, all Hoosiers will benefit from their positive economic impacts.

“For many years, hospitals have struggled to keep up with the staggering cost of uncompensated care – as much as $3 billion in one year alone,” said Mike Packnett, chairman of the IHA board of directors and president and CEO of Parkview Health in Fort Wayne.

“We want to thank the Governor and his staff for their leadership with this effort. We know we face significant challenges to improve the health status of Hoosiers. By covering these at-risk individuals and families, we will help provide better access to care, create a healthier workforce and help thousands of families avoid financial peril,” added Packnett.

According to IHA and its Expand Indiana campaign on coverage expansion:

• Approximately 860,000 Hoosiers, or 14 percent of the population, are uninsured.

• As many as 300,000 Indiana residents in low-paying jobs do not earn enough to qualify for tax credits and subsidies through the Health Insurance Marketplace. But, they earn too much income to qualify for Indiana’s existing health care programs for the poor.

• If coverage expansion is approved, the average family could save as much as $677 in premiums per year as health insurance premium increases will be reduced.

So far, a total of 26 states and Washington, D.C. have agreed to some form of coverage expansion for low-income residents. Meanwhile, in states that do not expand coverage, large employers may pay substantially higher federal tax penalties. In Indiana, the potential employer shared responsibility penalty could total $23 to $34 million, according to a report by Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, Inc.

To learn more about Expand Indiana, visit ExpandINCoverage.org.

About Indiana Hospitals:

• Create more than $33 billion in state economic activity

• Employ approximately 125,000 individuals and support an additional 260,000 jobs elsewhere in the Indiana economy

• Spend nearly $8 billion on Hoosier employee wages and benefits

• Spend over $16 billion on goods and services from other businesses in Indiana

• Rank as the second largest source of private sector jobs nationally

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Indiana Hospital Association is a non-profit organization that serves as the professional trade association for 164 Hoosier hospitals. These members are either independent or a member of one of the 23 systems in the state. Membership includes hospitals, multi-hospital systems and community mental health centers. The mission of the IHA is to provide leadership, representation and services in the common best interests of its members as they promote the improvement of community health status. IHA’s primary responsibility is to represent the interests of hospitals in matters of public policy. IHA also provides members with education, communications and data collection services. Source: Indiana Hospital AssociationNews Release

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath from Michigan City today issued the following statement in reaction to Gov. Mike Pence’s health care proposal:

“From the start, Indiana House Democrats have demanded changes to a system that leaves nearly 400,000 Hoosiers with the emergency room as their only health care option.

“Does the plan announced today meet that demand?

"If the Obama Administration and Governor Pence can agree on a plan, everyone should applaud. It's long past time to stop with the political grandstanding over Obamacare, and to start solving real problems for real people.

“We have asked the Governor to offer affordable health care to all uninsured Hoosiers. And we have always said if his way works, we will not dicker over the details.

“Hopefully, we are now entering the era of shared accountability. When the TV cameras go away and the stories and editorials have been written, pesky issues will emerge and the hard work will begin. All big decisions require continual refinement and improvement.

“I will note that this plan has yet to have the full review of the public…not to mention the federal government. Hoosiers already are sending their hard-earned tax dollars to Washington to pay for people in other states to have health care.

“But we hope the President and the Governor have an answer, even if it is long overdue. Late is always better than never.”

Source: Office of Indiana House Democrat Leader