This Tide Continues To Roll — More Southern States Expanding Medicaid: Louisiana Just The Latest

We had long predicted this moment — when sane people, regardless of party affiliation, would do what is right by their most needy fellow citizens — and start to accept immense federally-subsidized Medicaid expansion plans — covering millions of additional Americans, across 19 or so remaining hold-out states — so that the neediest might be able to receive basic life saving medical services, from their local health care providers. Louisiana is the latest to join — in providing a basic human right — to her citizens. This was a campaign promise made by her new Governor, and he made good on it within 48 elapsed hours.

The funding clock is ticking, though — as federal dollars not applied for, by these remaining states, by calendar year end 2016 — will be lost, permanently. From Forbes reporting, on this past Sunday, then — but do go read it all.

. . . .President Obama is traveling the country trying to coax the remaining 19 states, largely led by Republican governors, into taking advantage of the Affordable Care Act’s generous federal funding formula that costs state coffers much less than in the past to provide Medicaid coverage.

Obama last week visited Louisiana’s new governor, Democrat John Bel Edwards, who had just issued an executive order to expand Medicaid insurance for poor Americans under the health law, making the state the 31st plus the District of Columbia to take advantage of federal dollars available. Former Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, who dropped out of the GOP race for the presidency, was opposed to Medicaid expansion.

Before Obama signed the health reform legislation into law six years ago, the federal government traditionally picked up a little more than half the cost of Medicaid. But funding under the ACA is unlike past efforts to expand Medicaid in that the federal government will pick up the full tab through this year. States gradually have to pick up some costs in 2017, but by 2020, the federal government is still picking up 90% or more of Medicaid. . . .

“By July 1, we expect more than 300,000 hard-working citizens will have the comfort and security of health coverage,” Edwards said in a New Orleans Times-Picayune report. “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. . . .”

The healthcare industry is lobbying the remaining states to expand as well. Hospital companies like HCA Holdings and Tenet Healthcare, as well as insurers like Anthem, Aetna, Centene and UnitedHealth Group stand to benefit from expanded Medicaid coverage. . . .

We trust and hope that all people of good will, regardless of party affiliation, will see this proposal through Dr. King’s “better” eyes — as part of our fifty plus year war on needless poverty in America. This is, afterall, one more step — toward a more perfect Union. Sleep well, one and all.

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