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As a nurse heads into the ER, a sign proclaims the Baton Rouge General Mid City's Emergency Room is now open Thursday July 2, 2020, in Baton Rouge, La.

When Baton Rouge General shut down its Mid City emergency room in 2015, the hospital said it was losing $2 million a month, chiefly treating uninsured patients, many of whom turned to the site after the closure of the Earl K. Long charity hospital in north Baton Rouge.

It seemed like another sad instance of disinvestment in a parish that is thriving on the southern end, but struggling in the north.

Patients flock to Baton Rouge General's Mid City ER: 'Where have you guys been?'

The emergency room reopened last month and it has treated roughly 45 patients a day — nearly double the caseload hospital executives said is necessary to keep the long-shuttered facility afloat.

What changed?

Gov. John Bel Edwards expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

At the time of the closure, 36% of the patients seen in Mid City's ER were uninsured.

Medicaid expansion has trimmed the share of uninsured adults in East Baton Rouge Parish from 13% in 2014 to 7% in 2018.

At a time when health care inequities seem more important than ever, that’s good news for Baton Rouge and for Louisiana.