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Cabinet to make ‘road map a reality’

Pence powwows with team, won’t expand Medicaid

Niki Kelly

INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence met with his Cabinet for the first time Wednesday to detail his vision on jobs and the budget.

Each member received Jim Collins’ 2001 management book “Good to Great” and a bound copy of Pence’s initial budget recommendations.

“Today’s meeting was our first chance to bring all of this talent to the same table and talk about what we’re going to do for the people of Indiana,” he said. “These leaders will make our road map a reality, and their collaboration and teamwork will improve the quality of life for all Hoosiers.”

Pence still has not made leadership decisions for two of the state’s largest and most significant agencies – the Department of Child Services and the Family and Social Services Administration. DCS is tasked with protecting Indiana’s children from abuse and neglect, while FSSA administers aid to the state’s elderly, poor and disabled.

Child Services has been embroiled in a legislative study of problems within the agency, which lost its longtime head amid scandal in September.

Both agencies are currently being run by holdovers from Gov. Mitch Daniels’ administration, John Ryan at DCS and Michael Gargano at FSSA.

“We are continuing our evaluation of those agencies,” Pence said. He hopes to have a final decision this month.

Pence also addressed a push by some Democrats to expand Medicaid to cover more than 400,000 uninsured Hoosiers. He said it’s up to the General Assembly, but his budget doesn’t include financial resources for an expansion.

“My bias going forward is that any expansion of Medicaid would have to be fiscally responsible and it would also have to permit Indiana to expand it in a way that reflected recent innovation in health care,” he said.

The federal government would pay for much of the expansion in the first two years and then reduce its support.

nkelly@jg.net

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