In the one year now under the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) 2.0, the state of Indiana has not only provided healthcare insurance coverage for low-income Hoosiers and addressed the coverage gap, it has also helped residents achieve positive health outcomes. By working together with federal officials, the state was able to expand access to quality and affordable healthcare for those who need it most. As a result of the HIP 2.0 plan, nearly 370,000 residents now have coverage.

As the nation’s largest nonprofit health system, Ascension has made Medicaid expansion a priority, helping to deliver on our mission to provide compassionate, personalized care to all with special attention to persons in poverty and most in need. The good news: more people than ever are receiving the care they need while fewer are struggling to pay for it in those states that have expanded Medicaid coverage. I am hopeful that other states recognize Indiana’s success and develop healthcare plans that help the uninsured while placing no additional costs onto taxpayers.

ADVERTISEMENT
Unfortunately, there continues to be ongoing efforts to prevent individuals from receiving the healthcare they need and deserve. Medicaid has not yet expanded to all states, some of which have among the highest rates of people who are uninsured.

Only by expanding Medicaid coverage for those individuals and families in need of healthcare can we begin to achieve health equity across the country. We encourage lawmakers to understand that expansion is not about entitlement but is about supporting our nation’s most vulnerable and intended to reach individuals in all states.

In Indiana, HIP 2.0 is empowering consumers to make smart decisions about their healthcare. Since the program was implemented one year ago, nearly seven out of 10 participants are making contributions to their health savings-like account through the program, which is modeled after an employer-sponsored health insurance plan.

Today, low-income Hoosiers on HIP 2.0 also have significantly more primary-care doctors to choose from. Now with access to affordable primary care, HIP members are better able to stay healthy and avoid preventable hospitalizations.

With the third Open Enrollment period in the Health Insurance Marketplace ending last Sunday, more than 8.9 million people have signed up for healthcare coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace or had their coverage automatically renewed. Since the first Open Enrollment period in 2013, Medicaid expansion states have seen an average increase in enrollment of 30 percent. Meanwhile, states that have not expanded the program reported an average increase of only 9.9 percent.

Ascension calls on lawmakers in states that have not expanded Medicaid to be compassionate and just — recognize that coverage expansion will ensure that all Americans and their families have affordable and quality healthcare. Healthcare expansion worked in Indiana and we can make it work in other states. Let’s truly reform healthcare for the needs of our patients and make affordable care available to any and all who need it this Open Enrollment season and beyond.

Henkel is president and CEO of Ascension Health. A subsidiary of Ascension, the nation’s leading non-profit healthcare system, Ascension Health includes hospitals, outpatient centers, and senior, home health and long-term care facilities.