Democrat leaders: Serious concerns over delayed HIP waiver
INDIANAPOLIS- Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane and House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath sent a letter to Governor Mike Pence this week regarding the federal response to the state’s Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) waiver. The Democratic leaders expressed their significant concern with the administration’s incomplete proposal and the timing issues presented as the deadline for the legislative session grows near. The letter is as follows:
Dear Governor Pence:
We have become aware of the letter your office received on February 25 from the United States Department of Health and Human Services regarding the administration’s failure to comply with the public notice component of the application to extend the Healthy Indiana Plan.
As a result of the failure to comply with the transparency portion of the proposal, it now appears that we must begin a 30-day state public comment and notice period, followed by an additional 30-day federal public comment and notice process, later than expected. This time frame makes the possibility of receiving a federal determination on the plan unlikely to occur before the end of the current legislative session.
We have considerable concerns as to whether this will hamper the state’s ability to inject billions of dollars of federal funds into Indiana’s economy, create tens of thousands of jobs, and give hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers a plan to receive affordable health care services.
We have two specific questions at this time:
If a solution is not met by the conclusion of the 2013 legislative session, is it your plan to call for a special session to address this matter?
Additionally, if your proposal is rejected, what fallback plan for ensuring comprehensive coverage do you plan to offer to the estimated 400,000 Hoosiers presently going without insurance?
It is our belief that the scope and impact of this issue is simply too great to be shelved for another year. All Hoosier families deserve access to affordable health care services. We find it unacceptable to proceed without offering a credible contingency measure to provide that coverage.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have pointed to several reasons to vigorously pursue this measure: the significant and immediate economic benefits of protecting rural hospitals from funding cuts, employing thousands of more Hoosiers, and ensuring tax dollars earned by Hoosiers stay in Indiana.
Additionally, we repeat our request to maximize coverage available through the Affordable Care Act as the most efficient, comprehensive, and likely method to benefit the most Hoosiers.
We await your response and in the meantime will continue to work with fellow legislators to craft a policy that extends health care coverage in a way that benefits all Hoosiers.
A copy of the letter sent to the governor in addition to the letter from the United States Department of Health and Human Services are attached.
For more information on the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus or Senate Democratic Leader Lanane, visit www.senatedemocrats.in.gov . For more information on Indiana House of Representatives Democratic Leader Scott Pelath, visit www.indianahousedemocrats.org .