Healthy Indiana Plan expansion wins positive reviews

(WISH Photo/Ron Nakasone)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Governor Mike Pence’s plan to expand the Healthy Indiana Plan is winning positive reviews. They dominated a public hearing at the Statehouse on Thursday.

Most of the people who are speaking up about the governor’s plan to expand health insurance coverage are in the health care industry and while they stand to benefit from expansion of the program known as HIP 2.0, there is no one voicing opposition.

It was an overflow crowd that turned out for what amounted to a support group for Gov. Pence.

“We applaud the governor’s innovative approach,” said Gregory Stewart of Wellstone Hospital.

“We are pleased to express support for HIP 2.0,” said Amber Marr of AARP.

The plan, unveiled earlier this month, is designed to use medicaid money to provide health insurance for as many as 350,000 people. It requires participants to make co-pays or contribute to health savings accounts.

There are provisions that drew criticism from some, but praise from one charitable organization.

“HIP 2.0 stresses personal responsibility, which helps participants learn about and value health insurance,” said Tanya Shelburne of Little Red Door.

Just two ordinary citizens turned out for the hearing and they knew little about the details of HIP 2.0.

“I do support the expansion of anything that helps anybody with health,” said Michael Schwing, who is homeless.

Even a Democrat was there to provide encouragement for the Republican governor.

“I think it’s a good thing. I just hope that we receive the dollars that other states are receiving,” said Rep. Sheila Klinker (D-Lafayette.)

It’s what Mike Pence wants to hear and it was all over in less than an hour.

It was one of half a dozen public hearings being conducted around the state this week and next. The results will be shared with the federal government.

If Washington approves the HIP expansion, it will go into effect next year.