Commentary by Larry Lannan
Fishers Town Council Member Mike Colby has an extensive background in the health care business. That is why Gov. Mike Pence has tapped Colby’s expertise and named him to the Indiana Medicaid Advisory Committee.
The appointment was announced the same day as the July 15 Fishers Town Council meeting. After the meeting, I asked the former council vice president his thoughts on the new job.
Colby talked about his experience dealing with the Medicaid program. He has conducted inspections of long term care operations. These facilities often contain a number of Medicaid patients. He has done such work not just in Indiana, but in a number of other states.
When asked how he will approach his new assignment, he said his first order of business will be working to ensure the committee has an active role in the coming decisions on Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act, often called ObamaCare, is being phased-in and states are making important decisions on how to organize their Medicaid programs in light of the new law.
The primary goal, Colby said, is containing the costs of the program to the greatest extent possible, while at the same time not impairing the medical services needed by Medicaid recipients.
There is a personal story in this for Colby. He talked about his own mother and how the Medicaid program impacted her. He also talked about quirks in the law that allow some people with decent incomes to tap into Medicaid due to a complex system of waivers.
According to the news release announcing Colby’s appointment, the Medicaid Advisory Committee was created to advise on the administration of the Medicaid program and the children’s health policy board.
There are 29 total members of this committee, 19 from state organizations and 10 from specific interest groups, as specified in state statutes.
His tenure on the panel begins this month and ends July 1, 2017.
Gov. Pence is quoted as thanking Colby for his willingness to devote his time to this endeavor. Colby said he is “honored” to be an appointee.
With all the important decisions to be made by state government on the future of Indiana’s Medicaid program, it is good to know someone from Fishers will be in the thick of the decision making. I wish Mike Colby all the best in his new responsibilities.