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Pence Meets With Obama in Evansville for Brief Talk on HIP Expansion

Governor: Discussion "brief, candid, substantive"

Gov. Mike Pence (WIBC.com file photo: Eric Berman)

Governor Pence describes his discussion of the Healthy Indiana Plan with President Obama as "brief, candid and substantive."

Obama granted Pence's request for a five-minute talk on the airport tarmac in Evansville after Air Force One landed there Friday for the president's visit to Millennium Steel in Princeton. Pence says he's concerned about Health and Human Services objections to Indiana's proposal to broaden HIP as a vehicle for the Medicaid expansion proposed by Obama's signature health care law.

Pence isn't revealing the substance of the one-on-one exchange, but calls it "a good discussion." He says he's also made his case to top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, and will travel to Washington on Monday to talk further with HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

HHS has been hesitant to embrace the health savings accounts at the center of HIP. Pence says he repeated to Obama what he's declared publicly: that he'll expand Medicaid only if it can be done through HIP.

Obama's health care law offers states federal funding for the first three years of a Medicaid expansion before tapering off to 90%.

Pence noted Thursday the government has approved HIP's basic framework twice before.

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