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December 11, 2013

THEIR VIEW: Unhealthy approach to coverage

(Continued)

In its study for the Indiana Hospital Association last spring, the Nebraska center estimated that accepting Medicaid expansion in Indiana would also, by 2020, bring in $10.45 billion in federal funds, which would, in turn, create new activity, new jobs and new tax revenue across the state.

New income aside, Indiana now is sitting on two burgeoning trust funds that could help ensure that the burden of adding health care recipients would not add costs to the state:

• A portion of the state tax on tobacco products is dedicated to the HIP fund; that cache is now $307 million.

• Another $395 million resides in the Medicaid trust fund, which exists to pay for unexpected expenses.

Over time, that $702 million might not sustain medical coverage plans for all Hoosiers who need them. But combine that with the federal subsidies and state revenue from resulting economic growth, and it’s fair to ask whether the concern about the costs of a Medicaid expansion in Indiana might be misplaced.

As Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan move ahead with plans to provide for their poor, Indiana can sit by and watch its federal tax dollars flow back to the local economies in Chicago, Louisville, Kalamazoo and Toledo. Then the state can accept a new nickname: The Island of the Uninsured.

Or it can put a damper on its aversion to Obamacare, add a bit of common sense, and reach an accommodation with the federal government that will allow Indiana to provide for those in need and, it would appear, give us all an economic shot in the arm.

— The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

THE ISSUE Indiana opponents of Obamacare push ahead with the Healthy Indiana Plan, guaranteeing thousands of Hoosiers will be left with no medical coverage. THEIR VIEW Indiana residents shut out because the state declined to expand Medicaid are just collateral damage in an ideological battle.

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