Eleven Governors, both Democrats and Republicans from across the United States issued a statement earlier this week, recommending governors be included in the ongoing process of healthcare reform. Governor John Bel Edwards is among them.
“We need to have a bipartisan approach with Democrats and Republicans," says Edwards, "including governors by the way, because we administer these programs -sitting down working to chart a path forward that preserves the critical access to healthcare that we currently have."
Edwards says there are certainly problems with insurance offered through the exchanges, but fixing that shouldn’t negatively impact medicaid expansion.
“We can rein in the costs and can do it better but we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater," he says.
On his second day in office, the Governor signed an executive order expanding Medicaid in Louisiana. 430,000 people in the state have received coverage since it became effective in July 2016. Edwards says “those individuals would not have had access to primary care, preventative care; they would have resumed going to the hospital emergency rooms to get their treatment, where it costs more and you simply cannot manage disease out of an emergency room."
The Governor says the expansion of Medicaid has also led to an uptick in job creation.
“We’ve never employed more people in the healthcare sector in Louisiana than we do right now. That’s a direct result of medicaid expansion. By bringing home our federal tax dollars," he explains, "we’re hiring more people because we’re providing care to more people.”
In the joint statement issued Tuesday, the group of governors called on the Senate to reject efforts to repeal Obamacare and replace it later.
“Nothing that they’ve presented so far actually lowers the cost of healthcare and that’s what we need to do," says the Governor.