With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states were given the ability to expand Medicaid services to their most vulnerable citizens with 100% of the expansion being funded by the federal government through 2016. Since 2012, Senate Democrats have made this health care expansion a legislative priority by offering a number of proposals that would for the first time offer affordable health care options to 400,000 Hoosiers, create 30,000 high-paying jobs, and bring billions of dollars of additional economic activity to the state of Indiana.
After a year of negotiations to establish Indiana’s mechanism for expanding Medicaid under the ACA, the governor recently submitted a proposal to the federal government to expand health care coverage in Indiana. Although the final details of the proposal have not been approved by the Center for Medicaid Services (CMS), Senate Democrats are encouraged by the governor embracing the president’s health care law and working with the federal government to expand health care to working Hoosiers.
However, members of the Senate Democratic Caucus have long pointed to the years of federal funding, health care coverage, job growth and economic development that have been lost due to the indecision of the governor and Statehouse Republicans.
We have compiled an easy-to-read timeline of what has taken place in Indiana government and highlighted the most significant events regarding the expansion of Medicaid in Indiana.
Senate Democrat Leader Tim Lanane and Sen. Greg Taylor met to discuss the updates provided in the first summer meeting of the Health Finance Commission.
The Health Finance Commission met Tuesday to discuss the status of a number of high-profile Indiana health care issues. Lawmakers heard from Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) Secretary Debra Minott, who laid out what priorities the administration has pursued since the close of the 2013 legislative session. The secretary noted that FSSA had met with federal officials and discussed a three year extension of the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP). The plan is administered with a federal waiver that expires at the end of this year and covers nearly 40,000 low-income Hoosiers with more than 50,000 on a waiting list to receive services. When pressed by lawmakers, Minott admitted than the administration had not pursued an alternative to expanding Medicaid health services to more Hoosiers.
Download FSSA’s presenatation to the Health Finance Commission on June 25>>
Under the proposed expansion through the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid eligibility would extend to Americans earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level – $14,856 for an individual or $30,657 for a family of four. Senate Democrats stress that if Indiana does not expand Medicaid services to Hoosier working families, Indiana will forfeit as many as 30,000 high-paying jobs, an estimated $10 billion in federal money through 2020 and 400,000 Hoosiers will miss out on health care coverage for up to a year.
Read more on federal health care reform in Indiana>>
State Senator Greg Taylor has been involved in numerous proposals aiming to raise standards of child care for Indiana. Senate Bill 305 seeks to streamline and strengthen standards for child care providers across Indiana by establishing safety and sanitation guidelines in areas such as bathroom hygiene and transportation safety for facilities that are licensed and accept Child Care Development Fund vouchers as payment. The legislation also equalizes standards and investigative procedures across private care providers and child care services offered through religious establishments.
Sen. Breaux debates an amendment to SB 621 that would create a committee to study the impact of eliminating Marion-County Council’s at-large seats. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 13-37.
On a party-line vote, members of the Indiana Senate rejected an amendment to study a major overhaul of Marion County government. The amendment to Senate Bill (SB) 621, proposed by Assistant Democratic Leader Jean D. Breaux, would have created a summer study committee to examine the impact of eliminating the City-County Council’s At-large councilor seats and reducing mayoral residency requirements, among other significant changes.
Sen. Breaux’s proposal to study the move aimed to lengthen the conversation on the issue; however, it was rejected, 13-37. Members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, particularly those representing areas within Marion County, expressed their disappointment that more public discussion was not had before passing such a substantial shift of power.
SEN. BREAUX: “I was hoping, with the amendment I offered to 621, to do as I said on the floor and that is to slow this process down…”
SEN. LANANE: “It seems very clear to me that the elimination of the…”
SEN. LANANE: “I was disappointed our amendment was defeated because…”
SEN. TAYLOR: “I think the amendment would have done something we always do in the legislature. We allow the public to have public input…”
Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) explains his bill, Senate Bill 302, which would create an independent redistricting commission to draw General Assembly and congressional district lines for more competitive elections.
Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) reacts to Gov. Mike Pence’s first State of the State address on Tuesday night.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence gave his first major gubernatorial address on Tuesday, delivering his State of the State speech to a joint session of the Indiana General Assembly. In what was expected to be a major policy announcement, the governor again remained light on specifics when it came to his legislative agenda.
Several Indiana Senate Democrats have released the following statements in response to Governor Pence’s State of the State address.
SEN. LANANE: “I thought there were some things in there I could agree with him upon, certainly in terms of his proposals with assisting veterans. Our caucus…”
SEN. LANANE: “He tried to make the case for his ten percent tax reduction. I’m not sure that he actually did that…”
SEN. LANANE: “Again, I thought that his overall speech was a good speech…”
SEN. BREAUX: “I think the election was pretty clear. I think the voters are saying all of this education reform…”
SEN. ARNOLD: “My main concern about it was when he talks about…”
SEN. TAYLOR: “I thought Gov. Pence left a lot of things to be desired. I really would love to see…”
State Senator Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) notes the importance of early childhood education as a driver of opportunity on Organization Day, the first official day of the 118th General Assembly.
Contact Sen. Taylor>>
Senate Democrats rallied one last time on Wednesday to speak out against the contentious “Right to Work” bill as it gained passage in the Indiana State Senate. With a vote of 28 to 22, House Bill 1001 was sent to Governor Daniels who promptly signed the legislation this afternoon. Click the links below to listen to Senate Democratic Caucus members floor comments in opposition to the legislation. (Read more about events of Feb. 1 >>)
SEN. SIMPSON: “Weeks and months from now I want you to ask yourself this question; Was it worth it?…”
SEN. SIMPSON: “Right to work is a race to the bottom, it’s a downward spiral…”
SEN. ROGERS : “There’s a different relationship between management and unions now and we don’t need to interfere…”
SEN. SKINNER: “I don’t believe for a minute that companies are going to flock to Indiana…”