Sunday, August 7, 2016

In Louisiana, Medicaid expansion gives coverage to more than 267,000

Posted By on Sun, Aug 7, 2016 at 12:39 PM

Via the Advisory Board
  • Via the Advisory Board

Good article from the L.A. Times on the flood of people desperately in need of health insurance signing up for the state's newly expanded Medicaid: 
Patients burst into tears at this city’s glistening new charity hospital when they learned they could get Medicaid health insurance.

In Baton Rouge, state officials had to bring in extra workers to process the flood of applications for coverage.

And at the call center for one of Louisiana’s private Medicaid plans, operators recorded their busiest day on record. ...

“People have needed coverage here for a long, long time,” said David Hood, who served as state health secretary under a Republican governor from 1998 to 2004. “This is long overdue.”
With the election of a new Democratic governor last November, the state this year finally moved forward with Medicaid expansion, which expands access to health insurance to low-income adults via funding from Obamacare. Enrollment began in June and more than 267,000 Louisianans have signed up. Coverage began on July 1.

Thirty-one states, plus the District of Columbia, have expanded Medicaid. The remaining holdouts have left millions of Americans without good options for health insurance. That has devastating human costs — see for example this story out this weekend from the Houston Chronicle about those in Texas left in the coverage gap. 

Because Louisiana Republicans, led by former Gov. Bobby Jindal, wanted to express their hatred of Obamacare, the state of Louisiana foolishly lost out on hundreds of millions of federal dollars that would have flowed in to the state if it had expanded Medicaid when the option first became available in 2014. Thankfully, the GOP-controlled legislature in Arkansas pursued a wiser course. 

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