A group of local health advocates approved a resolution Friday imploring Gov. Mike Pence to expand Medicaid in Indiana.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, allows states to expand Medicaid eligibility to Americans earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of new enrollees the first three years, then gradually decline to 90 percent by 2020.
Indiana opted against the expansion.
A One Region health initiative called the Northwest Indiana Health Advisory Council wants Pence to reconsider.
Expansion would increase health care benefits to all Hoosiers and keep tax dollars in Indiana, said initiative co-chair Pat Bankston, associate dean at Indiana University School of Medicine Northwest and dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Indiana University Northwest in Gary.
Bankston, who also is a professor of anatomy and cell biology and of pathology and laboratory medicine, said in addition to the resolution urging the governor to support Medicaid expansion in Indiana, the group passed an addendum to start a petition to document community support of the measure.
"We asked for others, along with us, in an effort to have the governor understand there are people involved in the health care industry in Northwest Indiana who feel very strongly that his decision to not expand Medicaid – that that decision should be reversed," he said.
Bankston said the matter is not just about expanding health care benefits; it is financial, too.
"There's a substantial amount of Indiana money that's going to other states, because we're not participating," he said.