Donnelly to Administration on Health Care: Do no harm, commit to providing market stability
Monday, 31 July 2017 21:21

Gov. Holcomb also issues letter to Hoosiers on health care debate

GRANGER – U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly is urging the Administration to make a public commitment to continue cost sharing reduction payments (CSR), which lower consumers’ deductibles and co-pays. 

The senator’s continued push comes as he says the Administration keeps threatening to undermine insurance markets, and as an insurance provider is actively considering offering plans in Indiana in counties lacking any insurers

On Monday (July 31), Donnelly continued his push for stability in the insurance markets in a letter to Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—whom he partnered with to establish Indiana’s bipartisan HIP 2.0 program through the health care law.

Donnelly’s letter comes as the Administration has refused to commit to continue making CSR payments, which could cause people to pay at least 15 to 20 percent more for health care. Read Donnelly’s letter to Verma here.

Donnelly wrote in the letter, “…It is our job to protect American families from unnecessary increases in the cost of health care, particularly those within our control. That is why I am very concerned by recent comments and actions made by the Administration demonstrating a willingness and desire to undermine the health care system, even at the expense of the health and economic security of millions of Americans. These efforts to create uncertainty are harming working people and are already having a detrimental effect in Indiana.

“As we work to improve our health care system, we must first do no harm…The Administration has the ability to help provide market stability today, and I respectfully request that the Administration make a strong public commitment to continuing the CSR payments so that Congress can work together in a bipartisan fashion in an effort to reduce costs, expand access, and strengthen the American health care system.”

Donnelly recently heard from several insurance companies that provide coverage to Hoosiers, including two that have recently left the market, that cited lack of certainty, particularly as it relates to the Administration’s refusal to commit to making CSR payments, as a key reason for increasing prices or leaving the market. An insurance provider in Indiana that is actively considering offering plans in counties that currently lack an insurer has indicated that the certainty of CSR payments and a reinsurance program would “seal the deal.”

While Donnelly is among the first to acknowledge that Congress must act to improve the health care system and work in a bipartisan manner to encourage market stability and ensure greater affordability, he has expressed repeated concerns about the Administration’s repeated efforts to undermine the health care system. To read more, click here.

 

 

Gov. Holcomb issues letter to Hoosiers on health care

As the U.S. Senate continued to wrestle on the health care issue, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a letter to Hoosiers July 24 regarding the federal health care debate.

The letter reads as follows:

 

Fellow Hoosiers,

As I’ve traveled across Indiana these past weeks, many of you have asked me about the federal health care debate. You want to know how legislation may affect us, especially those who rely on Medicaid, our HIP 2.0 program or the federal insurance exchange. You’ve asked about the potential gaps that could be created by reduced federal funding.

Last week, we saw two separate publicly reported estimates about the impacts of Senate legislation that were $5 billion apart. By tomorrow, there could be other reports with completely different numbers. As I write this, there are rumblings of a potential vote this week. The point is, no one yet knows what the final legislation will contain or whether there will even be agreement to bring a bill to a vote at all.

Here’s what I do know.

We cannot continue to ignore the problems with our nation’s current health care system. Medicaid and Medicare are shattering our federal budget, and the national debt has skyrocketed to $20 trillion. Obamacare is crumbling under its own weight. In Indiana, as many as 60 counties will be left with just one choice for insurance coverage under the Obamacare marketplace beginning in 2018. Premiums are rising, our Hoosier neighbors are losing access, and employers are frustrated by federal overregulation that makes it more difficult for Indiana to put Hoosiers to work.

Despite this dysfunction, Indiana found a way to bring health insurance coverage to over 400,000 low-income Hoosiers through our consumer driven program known as the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP 2.0). HIP does more than just provide insurance coverage: It encourages people to make wise decisions about their own health and health care. It helps connect Hoosiers with resources to get a job and improve their overall quality of life. Ultimately, it’s a transitional program that gives Hoosiers the support they need to eventually transition to private health insurance on their own or through an employer.

In June, when two insurance providers announced they would pull out of the Indiana Obamacare insurance exchange completely in 2018, we learned that Decatur, Jackson, Grant and Wayne counties would be left without any provider options on the federal exchange. We’ve been working since then to secure another option for Hoosiers in these counties, and I’m confident we will find one. This is another example of how states are best-positioned to solve problems for their citizens.

Indiana will not wait for Congress to resolve the ongoing national health care crisis. We have proven we will find solutions to meet Hoosier needs but we need more flexibility and control to continue HIP 2.0 and stabilize the individual insurance market. At the same time, we will work with federal leaders to find real reform that addresses the deeper problems with health care delivery and cost, not just insurance coverage.

As governor of Indiana’s 6.6 million citizens, here’s what our federal partners could do to be helpful.

First, give us greater control of federal health care dollars being spent in Indiana. From Medicaid to health exchange subsidies, billions of dollars come into our state each year, but with too many federal mandates. Let Indiana put that money to work using HIP 2.0 as the model and give us adequate time to adjust to new funding realities resulting from federal legislation. Next, work closely with our state to provide the flexibility we need to efficiently deliver services to our citizens. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services earlier this year issued a call to the states to come to them with innovative plans and requests for flexibility. That is precisely what we are doing.

Finally, provide additional support to help us address our state’s opioid crisis. I’ve been encouraged to hear that federal legislation could include significant funding to help states address the drug epidemic. Indiana can put those resources to work immediately.

Health care will not be reformed by maintaining the status quo. That’s simply said but harder to swallow when you see the effects on individuals. I urge the Senate to continue the important work of repealing and replacing Obamacare. Fixing the root problems in our system will be difficult, but as history has shown, Indiana is well positioned to lead the way with solutions tailored to our unique population.

I have high hopes for a healthier future for all Hoosiers. This is our moment to work together with federal partners to find a health care solution.

Sincerely,

Eric J. Holcomb
Indiana Governor