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Pence seeks OK to use state program, not expanded Medicaid

'Medicaid is broken,' he writes HHS secretary

Gov. Mike Pence reiterated Wednesday his refusal to expand the traditional Medicaid program in Indiana.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Pence requested federal approval to use the innovative Healthy Indiana Program (HIP) to serve an expanded Medicaid population. Pence cited fundamental flaws in the traditional Medicaid program and announced that Indiana will not expand the program.

“Medicaid is broken,” said Pence. “In Indiana, an expansion of traditional Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would cost our taxpayers upwards of $2 billion over the next seven years.”

Pence asked that HIP, which has bipartisan support, serve as the starting point for all future discussions of health care reform in Indiana.

Healthy Indiana uses health savings accounts and cost-sharing by participants, and also focuses on preventative services.

Pence urged the federal government to grant states greater flexibility to tailor innovative Medicaid programs to meet the needs of their citizens.

“Greater flexibility would help states create and manage a program that is consistent with their local values and overcome the bureaucratic and inefficient nature of traditional Medicaid,” the governor said.

Pence requested HHS grant Indiana the maximum three-year extension for HIP, which would allow the program to run through 2016.

Previous efforts by Gov. Mitch Daniels on this same point failed, and the HIP program is set to end at the conclusion of this year.

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