The Obamacare name game

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is a vocal opponent of Obamacare. He once apologized for comparing Obamacare to 9/11 but he is still calling for its repeal.

That’s why the governor is choosing his words carefully now.

Gov. Pence has decided to accept Obamacare money to expand the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP. To outsiders he is calling for a Medicaid expansion, but you will never hear the governor say that.

The way he tells it, HIP replaces Medicaid.

“This is an expansion of the Healthy Indiana Plan,” he said, “and I think it’s an alternative to traditional Medicaid.”

That’s not how others see it. Forbes accused Pence of embracing Medicaid. The Washington Post reported he’s expanding it. Business Insider called it “sneaky.”

Brian Tabor of the Indiana Hospital Association said, “When you look at the programs side by side there are a lot of differences.”

There are also a lot of similarities.

Cover Indiana is a group dedicated to the expansion of Medicaid. Its website declares “Medicaid.. good for all of us.”

It likes the governor’s plan.

“We’re not going to worry about terminology,” said Cover Indiana Chairman Alex Slabosky. “What we’re going to worry about is does it provide coverage for people who need coverage.”

That gets us back to Tabor, who doesn’t care what it’s called.

“No, no, no,” he said. “We care about the substance of the plan. We care that the funding works.”

The governor calls it “Medicaid reform” but never Medicaid. When asked if labels are important, he said, “I leave all of that to others.”

In the meantime he’s calling it the Healthy Indiana Plan.

Yet, as the Pence Administration negotiates with the federal government for approval to implement the HIP expansion, it will deal with one agency.

It’s called the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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