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Pence asks Daniels not to set up health exchange

INDIANAPOLIS – Republican governor hopeful Mike Pence on Tuesday urged Gov. Mitch Daniels not to set up a state-run health care exchange.

He was the first gubernatorial candidate to respond to a July 30 letter from Daniels seeking input on two upcoming decisions related to the implementation of the federal health care act.

“There is too much uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act for Indiana to even consider implementing our own exchange,” Pence said in a five-page letter. “The national debate is far from over and the regulatory, fiscal and legal implications have the potential to cost Hoosier taxpayers and employers millions.”

Democrat John Gregg will be meeting with the Daniels administration in the coming weeks, and will have more then. Libertarian Rupert Boneham has not yet responded.

Health care exchanges are new entities being set up to create an organized and competitive market for buying health insurance. They will offer a choice of health plans and largely serve individuals or small businesses buying insurance.

States have the choice of setting up their own exchange or have the federal government step in.

Indiana has taken some preparatory steps, but Daniels has not officially moved forward with a plan.

States are required to decide by Nov. 16 – a few days after a new governor will have been elected, but before he will have taken office.

Daniels said preliminary estimates show the cost to operate an Indiana health care exchange is between $50 million and $65 million a year.

The second decision that must be made quickly is the selection of an essential health benefits package that will be required in both the small and individual group markets with or without a health care exchange. The deadline for this is Sept. 30.

Pence recommended the state choose an essential benefits package that does not go beyond the current requirements of Indiana law and respects Hoosier values by not mandating abortion coverage.

Overall, Pence believes the health care law will raise health care premiums, increase taxes on businesses and cost jobs.

“ObamaCare erodes the freedom of every Hoosier. It will increase the cost of health care and cripple job creation in our state,” Pence said. “I believe Indiana should take no part in this deeply flawed healthcare bureaucracy.”

See for yourself

To read Pence’s statement verbatim, check it out on The Scoop: