Pelath Calls HIP “An Embarrassment”
September 3, 2013 — More than 36,000 Hoosiers with health insurance through the Healthy Indiana Plan will get to keep their plans for another year, as Indiana reached an agreement with the federal government for an extension of the state’s health insurance program for low-income Hoosiers through 2014.
Under the Healthy Indiana Plan’s one year extension, the program will undergo some changes. Currently, a family of four earning about $47,000 a year – 200% of the federal poverty level – is eligible for the program; that income threshold will be lowered to 100%, or roughly $23,000 a year for that family of four. Governor Mike Pence says that’s because those making more than 100% of the poverty level will be eligible for tax credits through a healthcare exchange established by the Affordable Care Act, “That frees up space for people to enroll in the Healthy Indiana Plan that doesn’t exist today. So there will be more people that move into the exchanges and then it will free up about ten thousand more spots here.”
House Democrat Minority Leader Scott Pelath of Michigan City says a HIP extension merely relieves the fears of a fraction of Hoosiers, “The governor is basically saying he’s willing to let 400,000 people remain uninsured in this state. He’s willing to tell them that their only choice for healthcare is to go to the emergency room, which is costly, wildly chaotic and expensive and passed on to the other taxpayers and premium payers.”
Pence says the healthcare exchange – and the tax credits that come with it – will make healthcare coverage more available to many of the state’s uninsured population.
Pelath says, “HIP expansion is not a success, but an embarrassment,” reflecting a decision that’s part of a larger economic problem facing Indiana, which is far behind the rest of the nation in per capita income. He also says the situation causes Hoosier taxpayers to send money to Washington that will be spent in other states.
Pelath’s office says that under Pence’s plan, 400,000 Hoosiers will be without health insurance. Pelath calls Pence’s plan a “horrible economic decision” that leaves Hoosier insurance ratepayers to pay for expensive emergency room care while hospitals also lose financially when the uninsured are forced to go there.