Louisiana leaders say that hundreds of residents newly added to the state's Medicaid rolls have received potentially life-saving treatment since the health care program was expanded earlier this year.
Twenty-four women are getting breast cancer treatment after positive screenings, 160 adults have been diagnosed with diabetes and are receiving treatment and more than 100 patients had polyps removed after they were found during colonoscopies.
"People are getting services. We've already started saving lives," Louisiana Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee said during a meeting of the Press Club of Baton Rouge on Monday.
More than 305,000 adults have been been added to Medicaid since the state expanded eligibility for the health care program in July. The goal is to enroll 375,000 people by the end of June.
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Nearly 12,000 adults who are new in the program have accessed preventive health care services since enrolling expansion took effect.
"Louisiana's Medicaid expansion is not just a card in the hands of members, it's saving lives," Gee said.
Under the expansion, which is an opt-in provision of the federal Affordable Care Act, adults who make less than 138 percent of federal poverty level — about $33,500 a year for a family of four or $16,200 for a single adult — can qualify for free health care coverage.
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The federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs for the state's newly-enrolled through the end of 2016, and the state gradually will take on up 10 percent of the costs by 2020. Under current federal law, the state will never pay more than 10 percent for the expansion population.
Nearly one third of the expanded population has been in East Baton Rouge, Orleans and Jefferson parishes. About 65 percent of the new enrollees are women.