April 24, 2007


Health care proposal gains steam: Plan offers more choices, benefits (Lesley Stedman Weidenbener, 4/23/07, The Courier-Journal)

Even as lawmakers continue to debate how to pay for expanding health coverage to more Hoosiers, key Republicans and Democrats say they are close to agreement on the basic outline of the insurance itself.

The proposal will give adults who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but still have incomes that are less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level a chance to buy newly created coverage that is sponsored by the state but offered by private companies.

The state already covers children at that income level.

Democrats like the plan because it has the potential to reduce the state's uninsured population with benefits that go beyond the basics. Republicans like its "market-based" approach, giving consumers choices plus incentives to make financially prudent decisions.

"This is about getting people with no insurance to have insurance," said the plan's author, Senate Health Chairwoman Pat Miller, R-Indianapolis. "This is going to help a lot of people who need it, but it will also help taxpayers who are already paying higher bills because of those who don't have insurance."

The plan is based on a proposal Gov. Mitch Daniels made to the legislature earlier this year when he asked lawmakers to raise cigarette taxes to pay for it. He called it the Healthy Indiana Plan.

Mitch Daniels once again leads the (third) way. Were Democrats in Congress interested in providing universal health care, rather than truckilng to interest groups, they'd join the President in adopting such an HSA plan.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 24, 2007 8:25 AM
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