Indiana's effort to cover uninsured residents through a state-run health program instead of an expansion of Medicaid took another step forward Thursday when Gov. Mike Pence unveiled a proposal that he said would cover 350,000 residents if approved by the federal government.
Pence's "HIP 2.0" is an altered version of the state's Healthy Indiana Plan, which currently provides health savings accounts to about 40,000 people. Indiana has been seeking federal approval to use the program, which was established in 2008 under former Gov. Mitch Daniels, as its vehicle to cover more uninsured residents.
Pence has long objected to an expansion of Medicaid, which he calls "broken" and a "fiscal monstrosity." Indiana has been seeking a waiver from President Barack Obama's health reform law to use the Healthy Indiana Plan instead, but federal officials have objected to some of the program's requirements, including a provision that recipients contribute the first $1,100 toward their care. A one-year extension of the Healthy Indiana Plan expires Dec. 31.