Indiana has won federal approval to accept Medicaid expansion under President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul using a state plan for insuring low-income adults, Republican Governor Mike Pence announced.
Pence, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, has been negotiating with federal officials about expanding the Healthy Indiana Plan that he has said promotes “consumer-driven” health care, with features such as required monthly contributions. The Obama administration approved the state’s application for a waiver from Medicaid rules to offer coverage to 350,000 starting Feb. 1, Pence said in a release.
“Since the beginning of my administration, we have worked hard to ensure that low-income Hoosiers have access to a health care plan that empowers them to take charge of their health and prepares them to move to private insurance as they improve their lives,” Pence said.
An increasing number of the U.S. states that initially opposed expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are moving to accept it in some form. So far, 27 states and the District of Columbia are implementing expansion, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health-research group in Menlo Park, California. Seven states are discussing it, and 16 are not moving forward at this time, Kaiser said.
Indiana becomes the 10th state with a Republican governor to expand, and Republican-led states including Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming also are considering expansion plans. Advocates said there’s pressure to act as hospitals and other groups continue to push for it.
The federal health-care law required that Medicaid be offered to anyone making less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, about $16,000 for an individual. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 decision declaring the law constitutional made it optional for states to expand the program, which carries the promise of federal funding covering 100 percent of enrollees for the first three years and at least 90 percent after.
Pence, a former six-term congressman elected in 2012, has said he won’t announce a decision about running for president until the state’s legislative session ends in April.
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