As we recently celebrated the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., many working individuals and families found themselves struggling to afford health care in Louisiana.
Furthermore, Louisiana’s health care system has seen the effects of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s policy-making. Most disturbing is the governor’s decision not to accept federal Affordable Care Act funding to expand Medicaid, thus denying low-income adults access to health care.
Loyola’s Jesuit Social Research Institute recently released a report, “Too Much for Too Many,” that recommends expanding Medicaid, citing that many Louisiana families struggle to meet basic needs. Health care is reported as the single highest cost by far for individuals and families. More than 240,000 working Louisianans who today have no health insurance could be covered through Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion simply makes sense, morally and economically.
The Loyola report also cites the state’s low wages, high housing costs, expensive health care and hard-to-find child care as factors that make it difficult to enjoy economic security.
More than 50 years ago, King fought for these issues. Yet today, he would find that inequality and injustice in health care still exist. Furthermore, I believe King was correct then and it is correct today. Denying health care is the most shocking and inhumane.
Alma C. Stewart
president, Louisiana Center for Health Equity