(INDIANAPOLIS) - The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services is applauding Governor Daniels' health-care proposal, and urging legislators to pass it.
Changes affecting Medicaid require a waiver of federal rules. Michael Leavitt says he can't promise a waiver, because budget regulations require proof it won't end up costing the government money. But he told a state senate committee he's "very enthusiastic" about Daniels' plan, and will work with the state to secure approval.
Daniels has proposed individual health-care accounts, with a requirement that you spend some of it on preventive care, including regular physicals, and, if necessary, stop-smoking classes. As long as those requirements are met, you could keep whatever's left at the end of the year.
Leavitt calls the plan innovative, and says it has "incentives in all the right places." But Leavitt is steering clear of the debate over a cigarette-tax hike to pay for it --he says that's a local issue.
The senate has approved the plan, but without a funding mechanism. A different insurance plan in the house, with a cigarette-tax hike attached, was voted down.
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