Support for Medicaid expansion in Louisiana was a winning issue for Gov. John Bel Edwards in 2015. It was a such a no-brainer that Edwards, the race’s lone Democrat, was joined by his three major Republicans in promising to implement this section of the Affordable Care Act, although he was definitely the most enthusiastic of the bunch.
The consensus back then was that former Gov. Bobby Jindal had essentially forfeited millions in federal money, all to preserve his ideological purity as he prepared to run for the GOP presidential nomination. The reality now, as Edwards frequently points out, is that nearly 500,000 Louisianans, mostly people who work at low-wage jobs or don’t have employer-sponsored insurance, now have primary and preventive care as well as coverage for serious conditions.
The number of adults in Louisiana without health insurance has dropped dramatically since the state expanded Medicaid two years ago, a new rep…
Louisiana was a rare red state that opted in on the expansion, a key part of the overall bill that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling deemed optional. But our state could soon have more company among conservative bastions. In tight gubernatorial races in Florida and Georgia, competitive Democratic hopefuls are heavily promoting expansion, just as Edwards did. In even more rock-solid Republican places, Idaho, Utah, Nebraska and Montana, the question is being put directly to voters on next week’s ballot.
There, as here, adults at up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level would gain coverage, and the federal government would pay a minimum of 90 percent of the cost.
It’s a great deal for any state and its citizens, regardless of the dominant local politics. That’s one lesson from Louisiana.
Another is that the longer these other states wait, the more money they leave on the table.