A new state health agency analysis showing a potential $368 million savings from expanding Medicaid should prompt legislators to exert their authority in the decision-making process, the Public Affairs Research Council said Thursday.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has rejected the Medicaid expansion, contending it is too costly for the state and does not provide flexibility for states to move away from traditional rules and regulations.

“This newly projected fiscal impact, along with the likelihood of improved health care outcomes by providing more coverage to more people, are among the most critical factors to be taken into consideration,” PAR wrote in response to the state Department of Health and Hospitals report.

DHH on Monday posted an updated analysis on the financial impact if Louisiana were to expand Medicaid to cover about 400,000 uninsured adults — most of them with full or part-time jobs. The federal government would pay 100 percent of costs for the first three years with the percent decreasing to 90 percent within ten years.

Jindal and DHH officials have previously said Medicaid expansion would cost the state more than $1 billion over the course of the ten years. That number is considerably lower than the $3 billion-plus figure the administration was using in 2010 based on a state-funded Mercer study.

The new DHH analysis takes into account new information which changed earlier assumptions as well as money the state won’t have to spend for uninsured care because of the Medicaid expansion. PAR said the earlier analysis did not include cost-savings that would result from the expansion.

In the new DHH analysis, a “low impact” scenario shows up to a $368 million savings while a “moderate-to-high-end” scenario puts state costs at up to $1.7 billion over the ten years.

“This high-end cost would result only if the state chose or was compelled to increase health-care provider rates to dramatically higher levels, which is an unlikely scenario,” PAR wrote.

PAR stated the DHH reports still doesn’t take into account a $340 million to $500 million-plus savings that could come from 100 percent federal funding of Louisiana’s Children’s Health Insurance Program.

PAR again called for Jindal to “lay out his alternative path for health care coverage for Louisiana’s uninsured if he continues to reject the Medicaid expansion.”