HIP 2.0 best suited to provide for Hoosier's health care needs

May 19, 2014 Issues: Healthcare

As physicians, we have a core principle belief that every citizen should have the opportunity to access quality, affordable health care. Unfortunately, too many of our citizens go without basic, necessary care for a variety of reasons, a problem that is particularly acute for low-income Hoosiers.

In our state alone, 350,000 low-income working adults are currently without access to quality health care to meet their needs.

The Obama administration’s proposed solution to this challenge is a one-size-fits-all approach that simply expands Medicaid as we know it today. This overlooks the data that shows Medicaid patients are no better off and are more likely to rely on the emergency room for primary care as their uninsured counterparts.

Expansion only guarantees that beneficiaries will have an insurance card in their pocket, but not that they will be able to access care when and where they need it. From a health care provider’s perspective, traditional Medicaid has become a barrier to patient-centered care.

This is a significant challenge that must be addressed and a challenge on which Indiana has been a national leader.

We can only achieve the goal of providing access to quality affordable care to all citizens by addressing the skyrocketing costs.

During our statewide, “Hoosier Healthcare Tour,” we heard a resounding sentiment from Hoosiers who both access and administer health care, that they believe Indiana should have the flexibility to meet the needs of low-income patients by expanding the Healthy Indiana Plan, not traditional Medicaid.

We agree.

And as physicians, we know that the best care is delivered through a system where patients have a personal financial stake in making correct decisions concerning how to access the health care system and where decisions are made by the patient and their family in consultation with their physician, not by government bureaucrats.

We have strongly supported Gov. Mike Pence’s decision to not expand the broken, traditional Medicaid system through the Affordable Care Act because we have a better solution in Indiana.

Six years ago, under the leadership of Gov. Mitch Daniels, Indiana crafted the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), a fiscally responsible, consumer-driven program to provide low-income Hoosiers the quality health care they deserve.

With the idea that patients with more control and responsibility over their care will make better decisions, HIP has been enormously successful. In fact, HIP boasts a 98 percent approval rating from enrollees and has actually led to a reduction in health care costs — a major obstacle we have to expanding access to care.

Building on the successes of HIP, Gov. Pence has led the charge for the federal government to give Indiana the flexibility to cover our Medicaid population by expanding HIP and creating HIP 2.0.

As conservatives, as Hoosiers, and as physicians, this plan accomplishes what we believe is necessary to expand access to care for low-income residents through a few core principles.

HIP 2.0 is consumer-driven.

The governor’s plan puts patients in the driver’s seat and requires them to have skin in the game to receive additional benefits, while protecting a basic plan that covers all enrollees. It also incentivizes preventive health care, which is a critical component to addressing not just overall health, but the cost of care.

HIP 2.0 is fiscally responsible.

The plan is budget neutral; it does not pay for expansion on the backs of Hoosier taxpayers and does not rely on resources from the general fund.

HIP 2.0 supports private, employer sponsored insurance plans.

Hoosiers who qualify for health insurance through their employer, yet can’t afford it with their income level are empowered to enroll in an employer-sponsored plan that best fits their needs.

HIP 2.0 bends the cost curve down.

It does no good to expand access if we do not address the growing cost of care. In fact, it is our greatest challenge to ensure that everyone can access affordable care. By reducing the use of unnecessary emergency room visits and introducing personal responsibility, among other reforms, consumer-driven programs, like HIP 2.0, have been proven to drive down overall costs.

While no plan is perfect, we believe HIP 2.0 is an innovative, consumer-driven blueprint that can be applied nationwide for states to address the growing and critical challenge of expanding access to affordable health care for everyone.

Bucshon, a cardiothoracic surgeon, is serving his second term in Congress representing Indiana’s 8th District, which includes all or parts of Clay, Daviess, Gibson, Greene, Knox, Martin, Owen, Parke, Pike, Posey, Sullivan, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, Warrick, Crawford, Dubois, Perry, and Spencer counties. Brown, a practicing emergency room physician, has served the General Assembly since 1994. He represents House District 41 which covers portions of Boone, Montgomery and Tippecanoe counties.

This op-ed was published in the Evansville Courier & Press on May 18, 2014 and can be accessed here.