- On his second day in office, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed an executive order to expand the state’s Medicaid program.
- The action will make 300,000 state residents eligible for the program.
- The governor’s order makes Louisiana the 31st state, the first in the Deep South, to expand the Medicaid program.
The action marks a stark contrast to Edwards’ predecessor, Bobby Jindal (R), who outright refused an expansion of such kind under his tenure, due in part to his ACA opposition. According to The Times-Picayune, the expansion will likely be under watch as the state is one of the poorest in the U.S. in addition to harboring poor “health outcomes.”
"By July 1, we expect more than 300,000 hard-working citizens will have the comfort and security of health coverage," Edwards was quoted in the publication. "This will not only afford them peace of mind, but also help prevent them from slipping further into poverty and give them a fighting chance for a better life.”
State healthcare providers have stake in the expansion game as reimbursement for treating newly insured patients is on the horizon. According to The Times-Picayune, some state ERs have shut their doors due to fiscal strains that comes with treating uninsured patients.
"Already, by failing to expand Medicaid under the previous administration, Louisiana has lost the opportunity to receive over $3 billion in federal healthcare funds," Edwards was quoted by WWL-TV. Thus, state providers have kicked the state government $2.8 million to fund the startup costs for the program expansion.
It’s been a busy week for states regarding the Medicaid program as some offices have been changing hands and staff. While Louisiana is set to expand its program, new Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) this week announced his administration is shutting down the state marketplace and continues to look into federal ACA waivers.