Inaction on health law is not an option
[Monday] morning, Sen. Simpson and I met with Gov. Daniels and discussed outstanding issues related to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Gov. Daniels has asked for our input on two specific areas: Essential Health Benefits and the Health Exchange.
Our formal comments will be coming in writing to the governor in the next few days. However, because this is an issue that affects every Hoosier, I wanted to share our thinking on these matters.
First, the federal government is very prescriptive as it relates to EHB plans. In order to assist states in the selection of minimum benefits for plans in the Exchange, the federal government has named four options, all of which must cover services in 10 different areas.
I fully support the Healthy Indiana Plan benefit levels. However, the federal government requires maternity benefits, and HIP does not pay for those services at this time. Indiana’s EHB must include the 10 required covered services and should include as many non-mandated, but necessary services as possible. Accordingly, I support using Indiana’s Healthy Indiana Plan as the basis for our EHB plan, with additional coverage as required by the federal government.
Second, the federal government has offered several options to states in moving forward on an Exchange. States may choose a state-designed and controlled Exchange; they can choose a hybrid system that allows for a partnership with the federal government but still allows for state control; or they can choose a regional partnership with other states. The only other option is for a federally controlled Exchange where the state does not have the ability to provide input, but its citizens must participate.
At the present time, we are leaning toward choosing the hybrid system that not only allows for a federal-state partnership, but also allows for shared costs, significantly reducing the state’s financial investment in the program.