Health and Wellness Op-Ed: Indiana is Biggest Loser Under Proposed Healthcare Cuts

Op-Ed: Indiana is Biggest Loser Under Proposed Healthcare Cuts

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Op-Ed: Indiana is Biggest Loser Under Proposed Healthcare Cuts
By Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage)
Word Count: 390

In the latest round of intentional sabotage to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Trump administration dealt another blow to Indiana, home of his very own Vice President.

As part of the ACA, the Navigator Program ensures that properly trained helpers provide assistance for people to determine whether they are eligible for HIP 2.0, and to help insurance shoppers compare plans and apply for coverage. This program is similar to assistance provided under Medicare recipients for navigating those multiple plans. Funding for Navigators was supposed to continue at current levels through 2018.

The Trump administration just reduced funding to this program by 40 percent nationally. However, Indiana received an additional blow. Indiana received the largest cut in the nation: an astounding 82% decrease. Last year Indiana received $1.6 million to help Hoosier applicants; this year we will receive only $296,704, the lowest amount of any state. This comes despite the fact that Indiana has more uninsured residents than other states who received more money.

Supposedly, the remaining Navigator money was recently distributed to states based on a “performance funding” formula. We do not yet fully know the parameters of that performance review, nor do we know the reasons why Indiana did so poorly. Was it something that the State did improperly? Was it something that the contracted Navigators did improperly? Was it some other glitch in the federal evaluation?

As a member of the state Budget Committee, I raised these questions at last week’s meeting. I called on Governor Holcomb’s administration to demand answers to these questions and figure out why Indiana had the largest cuts in the nation. Indiana must also decide whether it will make up the remaining funds necessary to keep the Navigator program in existence or whether it will let the program whither away. Answers to these important questions will determine if there are any bills needed in the upcoming legislative session to protect Hoosier access to affordable health insurance.

Over half a million Hoosiers get their health insurance through the ACA and are able to access affordable healthcare. This law reduced our uninsured rate to just eight percent. Repeal of this milestone legislation will have serious consequences for new moms facing maternity care bills, those with pre-existing conditions, workers who don’t make enough to afford insurance, and families with children with disabilities. We need answers.