Congress returns to work today, and the number one topic is the U.S. Senate healthcare bill that did not get voted on before the 4th of July break.
“I’m thankful that they hit the pause button,” Governor John Bel Edwards says. “But now it’s time to get it right, because what they’re considering is so wrong, I don’t think it could be made right.”
Louisiana’s governor recently participated in a conference call with fellow Democratic Governor Stephen Bullock of Montana, who also has very little nice to say about the bill.
“The proposals in Congress are talking about cutting the program that saves lives in order to give tax breaks to the wealthy,” Bullock stated.
“There is nothing in the bill presently being considered by the Senate that really does anything to rein in healthcare costs,” Edwards added.
“I’ve actually had a few people tell me, well, they know it’s bad. They just figured there’s enough time between now and when it kicks in that they’ll get it fixed,” Edwards continued, with Bullock chuckling appreciatively in the background. “That’s not the responsible way to legislate on such important matters.”
Edwards says he’s been in close contact with Louisiana’s two Republican U.S. senators, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, urging them to reject this bill.
“As soon as we saw the bill, we knew that Louisiana was being treated unfairly, because of the way they were going to try to compute the cap – with eight quarters between 2014 and 2017,” Edwards says he told the senators. “Because we don’t have eight quarters of Medicaid expansion, Louisiana is singled out for very harsh treatment under the formula for those caps.”
Edwards said if this bill passes, it will require the state to break a promise that’s been made to many of Louisiana’s working poor.
“When they talk about phasing out Medicaid expansion starting in 2021, for Louisiana it will end in 2021, because at that point in time it will become unaffordable.”
In the past year alone, 430,000 previously uninsured Louisiana residents have gotten healthcare coverage through the Medicaid expansion program.