LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Doctor Robert Stone spent years working in Indiana hospital's emergency rooms. He said he saw first hand people coming in with conditions that could have been treated, but they did not come to the hospital until it was too late because they did not have health insurance.
Stone said you can save lives by expanding Medicaid.
"The economic case and the moral case of expanding coverage to 300,000 to 400,000 people who wouldn't have coverage is just a no brainer," Stone said.
The Affordable Care Act allows for states to expand Medicaid, and the federal government will get the bill for three years.
Although Stone thinks it's a no brainer, Indiana Governor Mike Pence has more thinking to do.
Pence chose not to expand Medicaid, instead applying for an expansion of the Healthy Indiana Plan, an already-existing form of health coverage for low-income Hoosiers.
Stone and Mildred Williamson, a former member of the Illinois Department of Health, spoke in favor of Medicaid expansion to a group in Lafayette on Saturday.
"Many of us look at access to high-quality healthcare like we need access to food, housing, and a decent education," Williamson said.
Stone said expanding Medicaid can help cover about 400,000 of the 800,000 uninsured Hoosiers. He said right now without Medicaid expansion, and with the installation of the Affordable Care Act exchanges there is a group of people who cannot get heath insurance.
"The crazy thing is if you make too little you may be too poor to qualify for the exchanges because the whole Affordable Care Act was designed to have the Medicaid expansion cover the poorest people," Stone said.
Pence said expanding an already-existing Healthy Indiana Plan was in the best interest of Indiana citizens. He was granted the expansion in September by the federal government. It will be in place until the end of 2014, and enrollees are expanded from 37,000 to 45,000.
News 18 reached out to local Republican state legislators. They were either unavailable for an interview or did not return our calls. We will update this story if that changes.
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