Latest State To Take Medicaid Expansion Saving So Much It Will Blow Your Mind
Louisiana Gets On Board With Medicaid Expansion And It Will Save The State $1 Billion
Less than 48 hours after taking office, Louisiana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards signed an executive order expanding Medicaid after Republican Bobby Jindal refused to hop on to the Obamacare train. Edwards’ administration recently finished the cost estimates and reported them to the state’s Senate. And the savings to the state budget: $677 million over the next five years and more than $1 billion over the next decade.
Edwards move, once again, proves the minority of states declining Medicaid expansion – heavily led by Republican governors – are incredibly foolish for taking money out of their budgets and hurting the people who could get health care through the action. In that way, it’s a two-pronged attack by these governors on their own people, hitting them once in the pocketbook and another time on their health.
The evidence that expanding Medicaid is a good idea continues to mount. The argument for not expanding it was it would cost the state a huge amount of money to add so many people onto the rolls. But a study released last fall showed the states that took the expansion saw their costs rise at a slower pace than the states skipping out on it. As reported by NPR:
…those that didn’t broaden coverage saw their Medicaid costs rise 6.9 percent in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. The 29 states that took President Obama up on his offer to foot the bill for expanding Medicaid saw their costs rise only 3.4 percent.
That modest increase in Medicaid spending in the expansion states came even as the rate of Medicaid participation rose 18 percent, three times as much as the states sitting out.
That fact can’t be stressed enough. States that took the expansion took on more people and still had only half the cost increase of the states that didn’t take it. And it should be no surprise that most of the states choosing the bad route are in the South. This decision cost nearly three million people the chance at better health coverage, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study this year.
Some of the best evidence the success of the program is so strong even the deniers have backed off repeal is in Kentucky. Tea Party Governor Matt Bevin ran on a platform claiming he would repeal the program immediately and dispose of all things Obamacare in the state. He has since quietly retreated from that stance and it appears a good portion of the expansion will survive even with a Tea Partier holding the reigns of government. And considering his other abuses of power he is being taken to court over, his backing off of completely dismantling Medicaid speaks volumes.
While Governor John Bel Edwards has tried and failed to add a co-pay to Medicaid, it’s clear he has done the right thing in taking the expansion during his brief time in office. The move will save his state a massive amount of money and give many that need it the health care they desire. We’ve seen a lot of bad leadership in the South recently so Edwards’ move is a welcomed change.
We can only hope the minority of governors who have made the mistake of not expanding Medicaid in their states will soon follow Louisiana’s lead and save their states hundreds of millions of dollars.
Featured image by Tyler Kaufman/Getty Images.
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