Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pence Opposed To Implementing State Health Care Exchange

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence has decided after receiving a briefing from Gov. Mitch Daniels' administration that Indiana should not implement a state health care exchange, a key component of the federal Affordable Care Act. The purpose of the state-run health care exchanges is to provide a mechanism for individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance coverage that is mandated under Obamacare. Essentially, it would allow individuals and small businesses to compare insurance products and shop for a health insurance plan which they can afford and which best meets their needs. A basic plan would have to provide comprehensive health insurance and prescription drug benefits. Subsidies or tax credits are made available to those with low or moderate incomes to purchase health insurance.

According to Pence's statement, his view is that Obamacare "erodes the freedom of every Hoosier" and "will increase the cost of health care and cripple job creation in our state." As a consequence, he thinks "Indiana should take no part in this deeply flawed healthcare bureaucracy." Pence claims that it would cost the state $50 million per year to set up a health care exchange and that it will raise health care premiums. He also doesn't like the fact that Obamacare raises taxes on businesses, which he says will cost the state jobs. He also cites uncertainty regarding the ACA, even though the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality earlier this summer. He seems to be banking on the election of a Republican president and Congress to repeal the Act. Pence also "hailed the Healthy Indiana Plan as an innovative, consumer-driven model that will increase access to health care and drive down the cost."

Even if you are opposed to Obamacare, it seems to me we might be biting off our nose to spite our face not to move forward with setting up a state-run health care exchange. In the absence of state action, the federal government will assume responsibility for setting up exchanges for people in states without state-run health care exchanges, which seems to be the opposite thing people who oppose the federal law dislike so much. Indiana already administers enrollment for Medicaid, CHIP and HIP so it would seem to be in a better position to tailor a plan suited for our state's needs than a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington. The federal government is providing grants to the states to set up and administer their state-run exchanges.

1 comment:

Maine said...

I agree. It is unforunate that the discussion (if it can be called that) has been so hysterical. The ACA is not perfect by any means, but it is a step toward providing some level basic coverage for all Americans. It is far less of a government run progam than the VA, Medicare and Medicaid as the insurance is to be provided by private health insurance companies within government set parameters for benefit coverage. It offers a choice of plans and insurers, removes lifetime maximums, and eliminates barriers to coverage such as pre-existing conditions. The primary concern should be focused on how well it will contain increases in the cost of health care. This hopefully is something that can be fixed over time if we can get beyond the hysterics.