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Governor suspends HIP enrollment

Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels said he ordered the Family and Social Services Administration to stop signing up new participants in the consumer-managed insurance program for low-income Hoosiers because federal legislation approved Sunday "annihilates" HIP by forcing many participants into Medicaid. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation today.

"I don't see any reason to add people to the rolls of a program whose days are numbered," Daniels said.

HIP began in 2008 and is paid for by federal Medicaid funds and a 44-cent state tax on cigarettes. Approximately 45,000 Hoosiers currently are enrolled.

Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is term-limited, just yanked the rug out from under many hurting Hoosier families.

The Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) was intended to provide affordable, accessible healthcare to low income citizens, especially those families with children. Approximately 120,000 slots were originally available and only 45,000 are currently filled - since 2008!  This tells me that the State had no intention of fully utilizing this program from the  beginning.

We all know that many of the programs in the bill President Obama just signed will not go into effect immediately. The HIP program, which is financed by a 44 cent cigarette tax coupled with federal funds, will still be needed until the new law's changes are put in place. The way I see it, Gov. Daniels prefers to sit on those funds to boost the State's bottom line by denying access to healthcare to Hoosiers. Even if the new legislation does cover children immediately, their parents are most likely out of luck for the immediate future.

Once again, the Republicans flip the bird to the very folks they claim to represent. If you would like to leave a message for good ol' Mitch, you can contact him at 317-232-4567 or send an e-mail via this page. I've already called and left a very pointed message on a staffer's voice mail.

[My apologies for the short diary, but I'm so livid, I can barely type. I was lucky to get this much down.]


UPDATE:

I just received a return call on the message I had left earlier. I will give the gentleman credit, he maintained his composure in the face of my focused fury. [My hands are still shaking...] He first attempted to explain the basics of the HIP program to me. After being informed that, as a sign up volunteer I'm familiar with the program, he changed direction to pacify me about the new legislation (specifically Medicaid) picking up those folks. The problem with that, I shot back, was that it totally ignores those folks who have applications in process (which is already a privatized nightmare) and leaves countless others in the lurch til the new programs go into effect. This exchange led off into several other related issues that would only clutter up this specific topic, so I'll save that for later.

The upshot of the call was that Mr. Staffer repeatedly tried to pawn off an R talking point as fact, I shot it down (thank you, Kossacks!), and he retreated to stenographer mode. He did confirm that they are getting a flood of calls. One thing I made very clear, was that I had posted this diary and that perhaps the Governor might want to take a peek at the comments if he was truly interested in our opinions. Ain't holding my breath.

IndianaDemocrat provided the program parameters in the comments. Thank you for chasing that down.

Originally posted to HoosierDeb on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 08:50 AM PDT.

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