March 4, 2016

HIP 2.0 Health Care Bill Advances From House

Gov. Mike Pence announces the approval of Hip 2.0, last year. - Gretchen Frazee

Gov. Mike Pence announces the approval of Hip 2.0, last year.

Gretchen Frazee

INDIANAPOLIS -- House lawmakers Thursday approved a bill that would enshrine in state law Gov. Mike Pence’s health care program for low-income Hoosiers, HIP 2.0.

Just about one year ago, Pence, after months of negotiations with the federal government, announced the creation of HIP 2.0. Using money from the Affordable Care Act, it provides health insurance to low-income Hoosiers while allowing them to make payments into health savings accounts.

More than 370,000 Hoosiers use the program.

And now, the Governor and GOP lawmakers want to codify the entire program, meaning to change any of it would require legislation in the future.

Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, says there’s something more important than embracing HIP 2.0 in law.

“Preserving the flexibility to everyone sitting in the Governor’s office and their peers in Washington to work out a deal that works,” DeLaney says.

DeLaney wryly applauded his Republican colleagues for embracing the Affordable Care Act, or, as he put it, Obamacare.

“What putting this into statute does is protects the significant difference between HIP 2.0 and Obamacare,” says Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel.

Republicans argue HIP 2.0’s health savings accounts promote more personal accountability than traditional Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act.

The House approved the measure 61-33, with four Republicans voting against it. It heads back to the Senate.

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