(Bloomberg) — Indiana has won federal approval to expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) — Obamacare — using a state plan for insuring low-income adults, Republican Gov. Mike Pence announced.
Pence, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, has been negotiating with federal officials about expanding the Healthy Indiana Plan. Pence says the program promotes “consumer-driven” care, with features such as required monthly contributions. The Obama administration approved the application for a waiver from Medicaid rules to offer coverage to 350,000 people starting Feb. 1, Pence said in a release.
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“We have worked hard to ensure that low-income Hoosiers have access to a health care plan that empowers them to take charge of their health and prepares them to move to private insurance as they improve their lives,” Pence said.
An increasing number of the U.S. states that initially opposed expanding Medicaid under PPACA are moving to accept it in some form. With Indiana, 28 states and the District of Columbia are implementing expansion, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health-research group in Menlo Park, California.Six are discussing it, and 16 aren’t moving forward, Kaiser said.
The Obama administration said it is committed to working with states to design programs consistent with PPACA and its benefits.
“I continue to be encouraged by interest from governors from all across the country who want to bring health care coverage to low-income people in their states by expanding Medicaid,” Sylvia Burwell, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said in a release.
Indiana becomes the 10th state with a Republican governor to expand, and Republican-led governments including Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming also are considering it. Advocates said there’s pressure to act as hospitals and other groups push for it.