How Mike Pence Did Obamacare

MikePence

By Jonathan Coffin and Emily Brelage, VOX Indianapolis

It’s official. Donald Trump has named Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate. And the race to dive into his record – on Capitol Hill or at the Statehouse – is well underway.

Coverage thus far has focused on the Governor’s close relationship with religious conservatives, which led him to sign a “religious freedom” bill that was sharply critiqued by a diverse coalition of Indiana’s business community, Indianapolis civic leaders and the LGBT community. Facing boycotts and the prospect of significant economic fallout, Pence was eventually forced to backtrack. Much has also been made of Pence’s prominence in the abortion debate; earlier this spring he signed one of the country’s most stringent anti-abortion bills, which has since been declared unconstitutional. And following Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview, the Trump-Pence split on the vote to authorize military action in Iraq is raising eyebrows.

But perhaps the most interesting policy story from the Pence administration – however ironically – finds its roots in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Here are the four things you should know about Hoosier-style Obamacare:

Indiana said no to Medicaid expansion, but yes to federal money.

In the aftermath of the passage of healthcare reform, Republican governors nationwide spurned the President’s healthcare legislation and refused to set up exchanges or expand Medicaid. Gov. Pence was no exception. Instead, Pence sought permission to expand a program of his predecessor Mitch Daniels, known as the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP). Billed as HIP 2.0, the plan would extend coverage to low-income Hoosiers, but would require participants to make contributions to the plan.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved HIP 2.0 and the plan officially launched in 2015, bringing “strings-attached” coverage to more than 350,000 Hoosiers.

For Pence, HIP 2.0 = Success of conservative healthcare policy.

Pence has regularly billed HIP 2.0, which gave low-income participants access to private health coverage versus traditional Medicaid, as a “consumer-driven” approach. Moreover, the contributions required by participants – even at very low dollar amounts – created a Republican political win for “personal responsibility” in healthcare. In short, HIP 2.0 created a model for Republican governors to accept large amounts of federal funding, while framing it with the conservative language of fiscal responsibility and discipline. Legislators in Kentucky and Ohio have explored HIP 2.0 as a model for their state plans.

But the jury is out on HIP 2.0 performance.

Yet, 18 months into the program, the Pence Administration is battling with CMS about how to determine if the program is working – and who carries out those evaluations. Of particular interest to federal administrators are questions about the program’s enrollees and the precise benefits received.

Repealing ACA would have major ramifications for Pence’s plan.

It’s yet to be seen the degree to which Pence’s healthcare reform success in Indiana will be the basis for his campaign with Trump. What is clear is that a Donald Trump promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act risks unraveling a program that Mike Pence spent most of his time as Governor trying to build.

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Healthcare

How Mike Pence Did Obamacare

MikePence

By Jonathan Coffin and Emily Brelage, VOX Indianapolis
It’s official. Donald Trump has named Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate. And the race to dive into his record – on Capitol Hill or at the Statehouse – is well underway.
Coverage thus far has focused on the Governor’s close relationship with religious conservatives, which led him to sign a “religious freedom” bill that was sharply critiqued by a diverse coalition of Indiana’s business community, Indianapolis civic leaders and the LGBT community. Facing boycotts and the prospect of significant economic fallout, Pence was eventually forced to backtrack. Much has also been made of Pence’s prominence in the abortion debate; earlier this spring he signed one of the country’s most stringent anti-abortion …

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