If Indiana’s Fiercely Anti-ACA Governor Can Do It…

Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence recently announced his proposal to accept federal Medicaid funding to close the Coverage Gap for uninsured workers in his state.   As a congressman in 2010, Pence was one of the most outspoken critics of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as it made its way through the House and Senate. The Washington Post has described him as “a tea party Republican before there was a tea party.”

If one of the country’s most staunchly conservative, anti-ACA governors can find a way to cover uninsured adults who earn too little to qualify for reduced-price insurance in the Marketplace, then Texas ought to be able to figure it out too.

Governor Pence didn’t embrace a traditional expansion of Medicaid. He plans to use the federal funds to build on the conservative health care system Indiana currently has in place. Participants in the plan would have to chip in each month to cover some of the costs, for example.

Pence plans to submit his proposal to federal Medicaid officials in June, and experts predict that both Indiana and the feds will offer compromises to get to the final product.

If Texas legislators won’t simply expand Medicaid, then Texas can follow Indiana’s lead by negotiating a Texas Solution that works for our state. The plan might include reasonable co-pays, for example, and the use of private insurance companies.

Those features are part of a proposal by State Representative John Zerwas, a leading Republican voice on health care in the Texas legislature. He has the backing of business leaders who know the plan will create jobs, provide a healthier workforce, and save property taxes that go towards emergency rooms and local health programs.