If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck but the Governor says it’s a chicken…it’s Medicaid expansion!
On Tuesday, the Pence Administration announced that the federal government had approved the Governor’s “It’s not Medicaid It’s Healthy Indiana” plan to provide health insurance to additional numbers of Hoosiers. As Talking Points Memo noted,
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) agreed to expand Medicaid under Obamacare Tuesday, but you’d be forgiven for not catching that if you actually listened to what he had to say.
TPM noted that Indiana’s expansion was announced with much the same terminology as expansions in other states headed by Republican governors.
The emphasis is always on the “alternative” and “unique” elements of their expansion plans. To be fair, that’s true. Starting with Arkansas, which proposed using Medicaid dollars to pay for private coverage, states with conservatives in positions of power have pushed the Obama administration to accept a wider and wider range of alternative plans that are more palatable to Republicans.
They’ve branded those plans with names like Healthy Indiana or Healthy Utah. But that doesn’t change the fact that these are proposals authorized under and paid for by Obamacare…..
The article included carefully wordsmithed statements from several other Republican states that have expanded Medicaid while denying that they were doing so.
But Pence might have been the boldest yet. His office effectively portrayed his state’s plan as a blow to Medicaid and government-funded health care.
“With this approval, Indiana will end traditional Medicaid for all non-disabled Hoosiers between 19 and 64,” Pence’s office said, “and will continue to offer the first-ever consumer-driven health care plan for a low-income population.”
But despite all of those linguistic gymnastics, astute observers on the conservative side still recognized Pence’s plan, like others before it, for what it was.
Linguistics aside, Pence might have gotten some decent publicity for his Medicaid expansion, which (whatever he wants to call it) is welcome news, and will make coverage available to many more Hoosiers– but the Administration’s ham-handed, tone-deaf effort to create a state-run news service (called “Pravda on the Plains” by the Daily Beast) sucked all the air from the news cycle, and eclipsed the announcement.
He got national attention, all right, but it wasn’t for Healthy Indiana.
Hint: Governor, if you are going to provide us with our news coverage, you need to learn how not to “step on the lede.”