Indiana Governor Holcomb joins list of Republican officials opposed to Medicaid cuts

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Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday joined a growing chorus of Republicans who are asking the GOP-led Congress to spare Medicaid funding as they go about repealing former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

“Obamacare,” as it is sometimes known, has been in Republican crosshairs since its inception. And public disapproval of the law, formally called the Affordable Care Act, helped propel the GOP to the commanding majorities they now hold in Congress and many state legislatures.

But 31 states, including Indiana and others under Republican control, also took advantage of increased funding made available through the law to expand state Medicaid programs and cover poor people who previously did not have health insurance.

Should Congress move forward on a plan proposed by the House, it could strip much of that money away.

“I want to make sure that we’re compassionate and cover the Hoosiers that we are right now,” Holcomb said at an unrelated event. “I completely believe we need to fix the Affordable Care Act and (House Republican’s) repeal was the right first step. But the devil is always in the details.”

Holcomb’s comments come the same day that nonpartisan analysts project that 14 million people would lose coverage next year under a bill pushed by House bill to dismantle the law. Much of the savings to the federal government would come through cuts to Medicaid, estimated at $880 billion through 2026, according to the analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

The projections give fuel to opponents who warn the measure would toss millions of voters off insurance plans. Criticism has come from Democrats, Republicans from states that benefit from Obama’s law and many corners of the health-care industry.

President Donald Trump backs the plan and Republican leaders have said their aim is to lower costs. They say coverage statistics are misleading because many people covered under Obama’s law have high out-of-pocket costs that make health care unaffordable.

But even before the analysis was released, GOP legislative leaders in Indiana warned that many could lose coverage.