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Indiana’s GOP in House to vote to repeal federal health law

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Indiana’s Republican U.S. House members who congratulated Gov. Mike Pence only days ago for winning federal approval to expand health coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured residents are expected to vote this week to repeal the federal health care law that helped ensure that expansion.

U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita congratulated Pence last week for securing federal approval for the Medicaid expansion under Indiana’s HIP 2.0 program.

“HIP 2.0 reminds us that states – not the federal government – are best positioned to meet the needs of their populations,” Rokita said.

Indiana’s Medicaid expansion for an estimated 680,000 residents eligible to enroll in HIP 2.0 is provided for by President Barack Obama’s health care law – legislation Rokita has repeatedly called “one of the most insidious laws ever devised.”

So when he and Indiana’s six other Republican U.S. House members vote to repeal that law this week – for nearly the 60th time – they will be simultaneously demanding that HIP 2.0 be terminated, The Times of Munster reported.

The federal government is paying 100 percent of HIP 2.0’s costs through 2016, after which the federal share will decline until it reaches 90 percent in 2020. And those federal funds stem from tax increases under the health care law.

Pence, who’s considering a presidential run, supports the law’s repeal while seeking to spend its dollars to reduce Indiana’s uninsured population.

He argued last week that HIP 2.0 is different from the federal law because it requires monthly participant contributions and imposes limits that don’t apply to traditional Medicaid services.

“Medicaid is not a program that we should expand, it’s a program that we should reform, and that’s exactly what we’re accomplishing in the approval of HIP 2.0,” the governor said.

Indiana House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, said Pence and GOP members of Congress need to accept the health care law as the law of the land.

“We govern better when we yield to practical reality and we try to make the best of what we have decided,” Pelath said.

The repeal proposal is expected to easily pass the Republican-controlled House, but will likely be stymied by a Democratic filibuster in the Republican-controlled Senate.