Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

August 29, 2012

Letters to the editor - Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012

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.

Our belief is that the most responsible position for the governor to take is the one that Gov. Daniels has been pursuing all along – to meet deadlines and apply for grant monies available to keep all options open to us. Because of the actions taken by Gov. Daniels, Indiana has already received $8 million to start this process.

I want to make this clear: It does not matter whether you support the Affordable Care Act or not. Whether you love it or hate it, it is the law of the land.

My job as governor will be to protect the best interests of the people of this state and enforce the law in a way that will benefit all Hoosiers and makes health care more affordable and more accessible for all Hoosiers. The plan I have outlined above will result in a healthier Hoosier work force, a growing economy and more successful employers.

Not participating at all is simply not an option. If the state takes no action on these issues, Hoosiers will be left at the mercy of the federal government, without any protections from the state. If we choose not to make a choice, Hoosier citizens will pay the price.

Unfortunately, Congressman Pence has chosen to do nothing. In doing so, he makes the choice to abdicate his responsibility and throw Hoosiers under the federal bureaucracy bus, the same bureaucratic bus that he claims he so adamantly opposes.

Mike Pence has been in Congress for 12 years. He has had over a decade to try and do something about this issue for Hoosiers, but has done nothing. When this specific bill was brought up, he did not even offer a single amendment. Instead of fighting for substantive change and improvement, Congressman Pence has resorted to political posturing and grandstanding.

Either the congressman does not understand the law or he intentionally wishes to place Hoosiers at this extreme disadvantage. Either way, his plan is simply a bad idea for our citizens.

As governor, I will make tough decisions when they need to be made. Regardless of the decision or the issue, Hoosier voters deserve to know that when I make those decisions, they will not be made because of rigid partisan ideology, but Hoosier practicality.

John Gregg, Gubernatorial candidate

Hoosiers have clear choice in November

Hoosiers don’t want their hard-earned money spent implementing the Obama administration’s deeply flawed health care bureaucracy.

Hoosiers now have a clear choice in this election. We can provide affordable and accessible health care through homegrown solutions like our Healthy Indiana Program, or we can embrace the Washington-based solution of Obamacare with its excessive federal regulation, taxes, and penalties for employers.

I choose more freedom, more innovation and Hoosier solutions over Obamacare.

Mike Pence, Gubernatorial candidate