Focus: State health plan

The federal government’s approval of the improved Healthy Indiana Plan, otherwise known as HIP 2.0, will benefit more than 350,000 Hoosiers who will now have access to insurance. People on both sides of the political aisle recognize this as good news.

But they view HIP 2.0 through different lenses.

Republicans see it as a rebuff of the Affordable Care Act and a strong victory for Gov. Mike Pence’s anything-you-can-do-Indiana-can-do-better song to the feds. For example:

Speaker of the House Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis): “I am glad the governor stood strong in his decision not to enact the Affordable Care Act in Indiana and pushed for a consumer-driven program that has a proven, positive history for our state.”

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, a consistent critic of the Affordable Care Act: “Indiana is leading the way nationally by creating state-based, innovative ideas for governing.”

Democrats see it as proof that the Affordable Care Act has had the desired effect of making sure more people have health care. For example:

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly: “I thank the governor for embracing this opportunity through the Affordable Care Act, so more Indiana families will have access to health insurance.”

Indiana Democratic House Leader Scott Pelath (D-LaPorte) “… today we can announce that the Affordable Care Act has fully arrived in Indiana. Now we can contemplate the possibilities of a healthier, adequately insured workforce. And the specter of medical bankruptcies can now slowly drift into history.”

Ninth District Rep. Todd Young, R-Bloomington, really nailed the reality with his comment, which acknowledged that adults on both sides worked together for the benefit of people who need health care. He said in part:

“I applaud Gov. Pence for his tireless efforts on this front, and commend the White House for demonstrating an openness in this instance to reworking our nation’s health care laws to give Hoosiers more control of their individual health care.”

Both sides can take some credit for this positive outcome.

Without the pressure of the Affordable Care Act, the Healthy Indiana Plan covered 40,000 Hoosiers. With the the pressure it created, Gov. Pence and Hoosier lawmakers developed a better plan that will serve 310,000 more people.

That’s about as many as would have been served by the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, but it has the added benefit of encouraging Hoosiers to take charge of their health care through three levels of insurance from free to very low cost.

Getting to this point was messy at times, with positions taken in favor of and strongly against Medicaid expansion to cover more Hoosiers. But the result was worth celebrating.