House committee amends federal healthcare bill
The Pence administration said changes made in an Indiana House committee Monday to a bill dealing with implementation of the Affordable Care Act hurts the state’s negotiating power with the federal government.
The House Public Health Committee approved changes to the bill that include removing language urging federal Medicaid dollars be given to Indiana in block grant form, requiring the state to end healthcare expansion if the federal government doesn’t contribute the funds it has promised and prompting the Pence administration to continue negotiating for expansion.
Indianapolis Republican Senator Pat Miller, the bill’s author, said the changes will hamper Indiana’s ability to implement the best program it can.
"I think the federal government will become more flexible in their negotiation and I just want Indiana in the best position possible to negotiate with the federal government," said Miller. "My concern is that this amendment has limited some of our negotiation ability."
But Health Committee Chair Ed Clere said the amendment approved Monday allows the state to use whatever expansion model it deems best for Indiana.
"This bill attempts to give the administration maximum flexibility to negotiate once the legislature is no longer in session, but it does require the administration to at least try to strike a deal," said Clere.
The committee passed the bill eight to five, with all five “No” votes coming from Republicans. Senator Miller and Representative Clere both noted negotiation regarding the bill’s language will continue as the measure moves through the legislative process.