Indiana seeks to continue Medicaid expansion, despite repeal efforts
Indiana's Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb will submit a waiver to continue the state's conservative Medicaid expansion for an additional three years, according to Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.). That's despite congressional Republicans' plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The congresswoman made the announcement Tuesday during a House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on Medicaid oversight. Brooks said Holcomb may have submitted the waiver on Tuesday. A spokesman for the state's Medicaid agency did not immediately return a request for comment.
The state's Medicaid expansion program known as Healthy Indiana 2.0 was developed by Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump's pick for CMS administrator, Seema Verma. While at her health consulting company SVC, Verma also had a hand in developing expansion waivers for Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.
Under Healthy Indiana 2.0 plan, beneficiaries pay premium contributions, have health savings accounts, get incentives for healthy behaviors, and a face a benefit lock-out if they don't pay premiums.
Holcomb was the state's lieutenant governor while Pence was in office. HIP 2.0 has been codified into state law, which may be the reason Holcomb is submitting the waiver at a time Republicans look to end Medicaid expansion through repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
State officials posted a draft version of the waiver last month for public comment. That comment period closed Jan. 20. In that version, there appeared to be no major changes to the program and it maintained eligibility of the program at 138% of the federal poverty level which was set in the ACA.
As many as 350,000 people are believed to have gained access through HIP 2.0.
Holcomb isn't the only Republican governor hoping expansion and the enhanced federal match that comes with it will continue.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich issued a two-year budget Monday that maintains expansion coverage for 700,000 individuals.
However, he will again attempt to switch from a straightforward Medicaid expansion to a more conservative version that will require a waiver. One submitted last year to the Obama administration was rejected because the state estimated some would lose coverage as a result of the change.
The new waiver will seek federal approval to require childless, non-pregnant adults with incomes above the federal poverty level to pay a monthly premium to the program, which is estimated to be $20 per month and will be capped not to exceed 2% of household income.
His budget assumes the CMS will approve this proposal and projects a taxpayer savings of more than $200 million over the two years.