WASHINGTON (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said Monday President Barack Obama's health care law must be repealed but urged his fellow conservatives to offer alternatives to the president's policies.
The Republican governor introduced his state proposal that he says would act as an alternative to Medicaid. In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, Pence said his plan would help expand health coverage for low-income residents but provide more flexibility to allow people to manage their own health care needs.
"When it comes to the issue of health care, I believe that people in my party need to be solutions conservatives," said Pence. He said the plan would build upon a successful state health program, telling attendees, "we must never forget that we're talking about real people, working people, who deserve a better way."
The Indiana governor has been talked up among Republicans as a potential 2016 presidential candidate and was headed to New York this week for meetings with the Republican Governors Association.
Pence's Medicaid proposal aims to cover 350,000 uninsured residents who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, building upon a current program that provides health savings accounts to about 40,000 people. Indiana has been seeking federal approval to use the program, which was established in 2008 under former Gov. Mitch Daniels, as a way to cover more uninsured residents.
The Republican has sought to distance his proposal from expanding Medicaid under the so-called "Obamacare" law, which he says needs to be abolished.
Health care represents another policy area where Pence has been gaining national attention.
He became the first governor to sign legislation formally pulling Indiana from the group of states using national Common Core education standards. But critics have said the new Indiana education standards are very similar to the national standards that Indiana replaced.