IN THE NEWS: Indiana “success story” HIP 2.0 in jeopardy thanks to Republican health care overhaul

INDIANAPOLIS – Republican sabotage of the health care system isn’t only damaging the marketplaces for individual insurance. Insurers are already assuming that massive cuts to Medicaid in Republicans’ American Health Care Act will all but doom HIP 2.0, which the Indianapolis Business Journal calls “one of the biggest success stories in Indiana health care.” With a cost effective insurance program that provides vital health services – including primary care, HIV treatment, and opioid addiction rehabilitation – for over 400 thousand Hoosiers in jeopardy, the GOP’s secretive health care machinations continue to have real consequences for working families across the state.

From the Indianapolis Business Journal: Worry rises over future of HIP 2.0 insurance program

It’s been called one of the biggest success stories in Indiana health care, adding more than 400,000 Hoosiers to health insurance rolls and earning strong bipartisan support.

But now, the future of HIP 2.0, an expansion of Indiana’s Medicaid program that requires low-income Hoosiers to have “skin in the game” by contributing financially—is up in the air, causing hospitals and other health providers to fret it could be decimated.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate are continuing to work secretly on a bill that could repeal the Affordable Care Act, which funds the plan, while giving few details on how the bill would affect Medicaid programs.

Last month, House Republicans narrowly passed a bill, called the American Health Care Act, that would cut $880 billion from Medicaid funding.

Now, Indiana hospitals are bracing for possible deep cuts in the HIP 2.0 program, a move that could strip health insurance from thousands of people and cut millions of dollars from hospital budgets.

At Community Health Network, reimbursements from HIP 2.0 added up to $49 million last year, or about 9 percent of the health system’s business—up from about 6.5 percent a year earlier. That amount represents a huge chunk of the system’s salaries, supplies and other expenses, said Joseph Kessler, chief finance and administration officer

“If that goes away, it’s like removing the sandbags during a flood,” said Susan Jo Thomas, executive director of Covering Kids and Families of Indiana, a statewide not-for-profit focusing on health care. “It will hurt people because it means we will go back to the original Healthy Indiana Plan, with wait lists and restricted services. It will be a very sad day.”

HIP 2.0, she said, has helped hundreds of thousands of low-income Hoosiers get care for a wide swath of health problems, from primary care to HIV and opioid addiction.

The bill passed by the House is now in the Senate, but it’s unclear what changes it might undergo there. A team of about a dozen Republican senators is drafting a separate health care bill in private, without hearings. The Senate leadership has said it hopes to get a vote on the bill before the July 4 Senate recess.

The secrecy is making it all but impossible for the public—including hospitals, insurers and patients—to see what’s unfolding.

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