[r65] Koch Requests Indiana Attorney General to Prepare Challenge to Federal Healthcare Legislation (12/30/2009)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Start Date: 12/30/2009 All Day
End Date: 12/30/2009

Koch Requests Indiana Attorney General to Prepare Challenge to Federal Healthcare Legislation

Washington Political Deals Will Cost Hoosiers Billions

STATEHOUSE-State Representative Eric Koch (R-Bedford) has requested that Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller prepare to take appropriate legal action against the federal government in the event that HR 3200, the controversial federal healthcare reform legislation, passes into law.  Rep. Koch has requested this action in order to grant Indiana relief from the unfunded mandate contained in the bill that requires Indiana to comply with the expansion of the federal Medicaid program by 50 percent.

     "This bill would expand the Medicaid program beyond the fiscal capacity of our state," said Rep. Koch. "Unlike the federal government, we cannot print or borrow money."

     In his letter to Zoeller, Koch cites a recent study conducted on behalf of the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration (FSSA) that estimates a direct cost of the Medicaid expansion to Indiana taxpayers of $2.4 billion over the next decade.  Other new, unfunded costs in the legislation include an additional loss of revenue to Indiana of $75 million per year from the diversion of pharmaceutical rebate savings to the federal government from the state over the next decade ($750 million) and state costs of $60-$80 million to implement the insurance "exchange" in making the necessary changes to accommodate the 50 percent increase in the Medicaid program.  Koch also notes that in 2019, when the current legislation would be reauthorized, by a new Congress, the enhanced FMAP rate of 95 percent could fall back to its current 67 percent rate, which would require Indiana taxpayers to fund almost $900 million a year in additional costs.

     "Not only would these increases alone place a great burden on the taxpayers of our state, but also force Hoosiers to foot much of these increased costs for other states as a result of political deals in Washington," said Rep. Koch, citing as an example, Nebraska, where Sen. Ben Nelson, in exchange for his support of the bill, was able to get any future increases in his state's Medicaid program paid for by the federal government.  "I view this as a violation of the Equal Protection under the law guaranteed by the United States Constitution, because not every state will face a similar and equal burden," Koch said in his letter to the attorney general.

     Rep. Koch serves House District 65, which includes parts of Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson, and Lawrence counties, and is Assistant Republican Caucus Chairman.