- The Washington Times - Friday, May 16, 2014

The Heritage Foundation, a top conservative think tank, says they are disappointed with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s proposal to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program, saying his consumer-oriented reforms are freighted with uncertainty and high costs.

Mr. Pence, a Republican, unveiled a Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 on Thursday that emphasizes personal responsibility while leveraging new federal funding under the Affordable Care Act. It is one of several GOP-backed plans across America that attempt to expand health coverage for lower-income residents without fully embracing Obamacare.

Heritage says it is unclear if the federal government will live up to its funding promises and, if that happens, a court may decide that Indiana cannot claw back benefits for new Medicaid recipients. The state also needs a federal waiver for its non-traditional extension of public benefits, which will be temporary and subject to the whims of Washington, according to Heritage.

Plus, there’s the potential costs.

“As with most new government programs, original estimates are likely not the true full cost,” the foundation said on its blog. “Consider the Affordable Care Act — at the beginning, proponents argued that the health care law would fall under the $1 trillion threshold. However, updated estimates show the new law is expected to double the original projection.”

“The expansion should be rejected,” author Nina Owcharenko added. “The result of this waiver agreement will have a lasting effect – well beyond this governor’s term in office — on the state of Indiana, Medicaid, and taxpayers.”

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