The Louisiana Senate on Monday unanimously advanced a proposal backed by Attorney General Jeff Landry that seeks to provide some of the Affordable Care Act’s more popular protections in case a lawsuit joined by Landry to overturn the law is successful.
The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, would let Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon look for models for covering the nearly 100,000 people in the state’s individual health insurance exchange. Landry and Donelon have said they want to model a potential plan after Maine’s “invisible pool” for people who don’t get health coverage through work or other means.
The Senate passed the legislation 38-0 Monday.
The bill pushed by Landry was one of two filed this session that sought to add some of the ACA’s provisions to state law if a lawsuit that Landry joined is successful in overturning it. The other, backed by Gov. John Bel Edwards--a political rival of Landry’s--was killed in committee last week.
Both of those bills were originally estimated to lead to huge costs to the state or patients before being changed dramatically.
Edwards’ administration has criticized Landry’s proposal, which won bipartisan support Monday even though two lawmakers said they think it doesn’t come close to actually protecting people with pre-existing conditions if the ACA is overturned.
“Voting (for the bill) today does not solve the ACA problem,” said state Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans.
Mills said he thinks it is a good first step to get the state closer to landing federal funding and having a plan in place if needed.
“I think this gets us exactly where we need to be to begin the discussions," Mills said.