By Lesley Weidenbener
Republican Mike Pence
Pencesaid Tuesday that Indiana should not act to set up a state-operated
health care exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act.
operate its own exchange, which is a system meant to foster an affordable
environment for individuals to buy coverage.
If the state does not take on the exchange, federal
officials will step in to create one.
"There is too much uncertainty surrounding the
Affordable Care Act for Indiana to even consider implementing our own exchange,"
Pence said in a statement. "The national debate is far from over and the
regulatory, fiscal and legal implications have the potential to cost Hoosier
taxpayers and employers millions."
Daniels has estimated that creating an exchange could cost
Indiana at least $50 million annually.
Daniels was seeking input from the candidates because while
initial decisions about the exchange must be made yet this year, the program
wouldn't be implemented until the next governor takes office.
The health insurance exchanges
insurance exchangesare a key part of the federal law and are meant to
foster an affordable environment for individuals to buy coverage.
Daniels must tell federal authorities whether the state will
create an exchange, leave the job to the federal government or create a hybrid
partnership by Nov. 16, just weeks before Daniels will turn the governor's
office over to a successor.
The state must also select an Essential Health Benefits
Health Benefitspackage that will be offered in small and individual group
markets, even if the state doesn't move forward with its own exchange. The
state must make that decision by Sept. 30.
Pence and Boneham met with Daniels' staff last week to talk
about the issue.
John Gregg's spokesman, Daniel Altman, said that although a
meeting has yet to take place, the Democrat looks forward "to talking with
Gov. Daniels about how to make healthcare more affordable and accessible for
The health care law originally mandated states to expand
Medicaid coverage to more people, but a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision made
the expansion optional. Daniels has expressed concern that an expansion might
be so expensive that it would crowd out funding for education and other
programs, but the Medicaid decision will be made after he leaves office.
Weidenbener is managing editor of The Statehouse File, a news service powered
by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.