Medicaid expansion

Sue Lincoln

Just because the election is over doesn’t mean all campaigning is at an end.

“It is not a time for us to become complacent, to let up, to get comfortable,” said Rev. Lee T. Wesley of Together Louisiana at a press conference Monday.

The statewide coalition of churches and community groups said they are pleased with the election of John Bel Edwards as governor, and they’re going do everything possible to help make the first of his campaign promises come true.

Health care funding bleeds the most when Louisiana’s budget is in the red. Since it appears the scalpel will be wielded for some time yet to come, how do gubernatorial candidates plan to stitch Louisiana’s health care together?

”I would accept the Medicaid expansion, and I would do it very early in my administration,” John Bel Edwards says, adding that it makes fiscal sense. “They’re our tax dollars that are going to other states.”

David Vitter is more reserved about accepting the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

“I have not taken off the table — I’ve been very clear about this — expanding coverage under the Medicaid program.” But, Vitter says he would set conditions for doing so.

Don't Call It Medicaid Expansion

Jun 16, 2015

Is Republican House Speaker Chuck Kleckley calling for Medicaid expansion? No, that can’t be right. 

In the 2010 legislative session, Gov. Jindal signed into law a largely symbolic bill declaring all Louisianians free from quote “governmental intrusion in choosing or declining to choose any mode of securing health insurance coverage.” That was shortly after the federal Affordable Care Act passed, and 31 Republican lawmakers, including Kleckley, co-authored the measure.

Fast forward to today. Kleckey pushed the resolution allowing Louisiana’s next governor to pay for Medicaid expansion. Both houses approved, and the governor has no say.

Dallas's Parkland Hospital treats a lot of people without health insurance. On a November day in 1963, emergency room doctors at this county hospital frantically tried to save an American president who could not be saved. These days, emergency room doctors frantically try to treat 240,000 patients every year.

"So you can see we have every treatment area filled up. Beds are in the hallways and the rooms are all full," says Dr. John Pease, chief of emergency services.

They took every penny they could find.

“The House efforts have solved 850-million of the one billion dollar problem,” Appropriations chairman Jim Fannin announced.

They even decided what to do with some money they’ve not yet found.

“This 31-million for the medical school in Shreveport would be put in a priority line if that funding is available,” Shreveport Rep. Thomas Carmody said, in support of Rep. Bubba Chaney’s amendment to HB 1.

It took six hours of debate, but he full House passed a 24-billion dollar budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, resolving over half the $1.6-billion dollar shortfall.

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