Governor Mike Pence is against expanding Medicaid to help cover some 400 thousand uninsured Hoosiers. He’s banking on federal government approval of the expansion of the already-existing Healthy Indiana Plan. Representative Ed Clere, chair of the Public Health Committee, amended Senate Bill 551 to require the Pence Administration to negotiate with the feds – not just leave it as an option.
Clere says some worry the federal government will back out of paying.
“If federal participation ever drops below the levels that have been promised, then our program would terminate and per this language – that would have to be a pre-condition,” said Clere.
Clere’s amendment and the bill passed the committee with bipartisan support. Senate Bill 551 now heads to the House Ways and Means Committee.
Dr. Rob Stone, the medical director of palliative care at IU Health Hospital in Bloomington says the problem now is uninsured people are using the emergency room as their doctor.
“When they get a chest pain they don’t go right away – it’s more when the heart attack is fully blown. And of course, you can’t get mammograms and pap smears and diabetes care in the emergency room – that just won’t work. And so, these people need real healthcare,” said Stone.
Stone believes expanding Medicaid is the easiest and fastest way for the state to expand healthcare.