Jake Harper

Reporter, WFYI

Jake is a reporter with Side Effects and WFYI in Indianapolis. He decided to pursue radio journalism while volunteering at a community station in Madison, WI, and soon after began an internship with NPR's State of the Re:Union. Jake has received a first place award from the Milwaukee Press Club and he was a finalist in KCRW's 24-Hour Radio Race. In his spare time, he runs and tries to perfect his pizza crust recipe. 

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In a week when federal health policy is dominating the headlines, Indiana is also looking to make some unusual changes to its Medicaid program.

 

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Addiction experts are up in arms following remarks from Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, in which he referred to medication-assisted treatment for addiction as “substituting one opioid for another.”

Indiana has submitted new information to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on its Medicaid expansion program, the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0. 

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The GOP's proposed health law, the American Health Care Act, has some mental health and addiction treatment advocates worried.

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A new study from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI in Indianapolis has found that restricting opioid prescriptions may have an unintended side effect: more overdose deaths involving heroin and fentanyl. The study also shows that Indiana’s reports don’t reflect the actual number of overdose deaths in which opioid drugs are present.

Note: This story was updated at 11 p.m. February 22, 2017. 

The federal government is welcoming public comment on an application to renew Indiana’s Medicaid program until March 17. The program needs federal approval to continue because its design is an experiment: Unlike Medicaid expansions in other states, the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0, requires members to make monthly payments. Now Indiana has to argue that the experiment is working.

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Indiana has one of the nation’s highest smoking rates, but a bill working its way through the legislature aims to change that, in part by raising the cigarette tax by $1.50. The bill cleared the House Committee on Public Health Wednesday.

Nancy Cripe, the coordinator for Tobacco Free Allen County, spent the day before the committee vote at the statehouse to convince lawmakers to vote for the bill, as part of Raise It For Health’s advocacy day. It was easy work.

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In 2015, Indiana expanded its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. The Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0, extended coverage to about 250,000 low-income Hoosiers who were not previously eligible. Amid the turmoil in Washington over what to do with Obamacare, Indiana has applied to keep the program running for three more years.

Jake Harper/Side Effects

Indiana’s new governor, Eric Holcomb, vowed to tackle the state’s drug addiction epidemic in his first State of the State address on Tuesday. But he has also said he supports Congress’s plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.

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The state legislature will consider a law to curb Indiana’s smoking rate, which is one of the highest in the nation. The proposed bill would raise the cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack, among other measures.

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