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Indiana on Healthcare Reform: Take the Lead, or Wait for Feds?


Wednesday, October 12, 2011   

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana is yet to decide if it will develop a health-insurance "exchange" as part of requirements outlined by the Affordable Care Act, or allow the federal government to handle the implementation.

A recent Indiana Health Exchange Symposium, sponsored by AARP, brought folks from all sides together to consider options. So far, says Seema Verma, health-care reform lead for the state of Indiana, there are more questions than answers from the feds.

"They've really put out almost no information about what a federal exchange would look like, so there's nothing for us to compare to at this point."

Indiana has not committed to creating its own exchange, Verma says, but is involved in planning and research if it's decided that is the best option. Indiana is one of the 28 states challenging the federal health-care law. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on challenges to the law by mid-2012.

Benjamin Domenech, managing editor of Health Care News and a research fellow at The Heartland Institute, is urging the state to wait.

"There's so many things that have to come out from Washington in terms of regulations, in terms of controls, in terms of requirements put on the state. I think that it's important for Indiana to essentially see that play out before they just go ahead with everything."

Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, favors the health-care reform law and wants to see it implemented so that more Hoosiers have coverage - but he's concerned about meeting the required deadlines...

"It's going to be very, very difficult to get there by 2013 - maybe impossible."

As a legislator, Brown says he'd like to be involved in the process of developing an exchange - but he says so far that hasn't happened.

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