As Republicans in Congress make one last run at unraveling the Affordable Care Act, new government data points to yet another measure of the law's benefit: Significantly fewer people in Louisiana are going without health insurance now than in the past.
Just 10.3 percent of Louisiana residents were uninsured in 2016, down from 11.9 percent in 2015 and 16.6 percent in 2013, according to U.S. Census data published by the Associated Press. Nationally, the uninsured rate dropped by 5.9 percentage points between 2013 and 2016, according to the report.
If you've heard Gov. John Bel Edwards speak in public, chances are you've heard him talk abo…
The most recent year measured, of course, coincides with Gov. John Bel Edwards' embrace of Medicaid expansion under the ACA, which allows states to insure low-income people and be reimbursed at least 90 percent of the cost. Former Gov. Bobby Jindal had rejected the expansion, but Edwards quickly reversed course when he took office in January, 2016, and so far, more than 430,000 Louisianans have signed up.
Ironically, the current push to overturn the law is being led by Louisiana U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, a physician who spent his career in the Charity system. Cassidy opposes the law's current coverage mandates but has said he believes more widespread coverage is better than less. That sets him apart from fellow Republican Jindal, who has dismissed the idea of expanding coverage as simply giving everyone a card. But it also differentiates him from Democrat Edwards, who supports fixing rather than repealing and replacing the current health care law.
It's now or never, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and several Senate co-sponsors of his latest propo…
Still, Cassidy last week pointed to Edwards' success in championing Medicaid expansion as a model for states, which would each get to design their own coverage plans under the replacement bill he's co-sponsoring with South Carolina's Lindsey Graham.
"If a governor's on board, we can enroll people," said Cassidy.
Which, given the data, sounds an awful lot like a better argument for staying the course than for change.