The Benefits of the Medicaid Expansion in Louisiana

Governor John Bel Edwards recently took executive action to expand Medicaid coverage in Louisiana. Such action is good news for the 300,000 individuals who currently do not have healthcare insurance, who will now be able to gain access to better health care. The state of LA will also benefit from this order, because it will assist in Louisiana’s shortfall budget. Before this, an estimated 1.4 million Louisianans were covered by Medicaid and the influx of new enrollees this July 1 will help the state’s productive workforce.

Louisiana has statistically been one of the unhealthiest states in the U.S., taking last place for overall health. To be more specific, this recent news is crucial for the well-being of the residents of Louisiana. The plan will extend Medicaid coverage to those who are 138% below poverty level. Governor Edwards helped push the number of people eligible for Medicaid to over 50%, which represents numbers the Deep South hasn’t seen before, due to strong opposition to President Obama’s healthcare policies.

The main effect of the passing of this bill is that Medicaid patients will have access to specialists – such as cardiologists and orthopedic surgeons – whereas primary care was their only option in the past. Patients have often been denied access to these medical specialists in the past, due to the lack of Medicaid coverage from the practices. Therefore, people suffering from these complexities have had to go to bigger cities like Baton Rouge and New Orleans for treatment. As of July 1 2016, this will no longer be the case for more than 300,000 people, who will now have access to specialists and their providers.

Seeing this shift in gear, many health centers have increased in volume of patient care, as the momentum for the bill picked up. According to John Chapman of the Louisiana Primary Care Association, the situation has seen a positive light and now providers must take measures to successfully treat the influx of patients. Most health centers aren’t equipped for the explosion in growth.

The passing of the Act will help more people in Louisiana to have access to better healthcare coverage, but the quality of establishments might suffer a little, as the number of facilities will not increase.

To sum it up, this executive action of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edward to expand Medicaid to those who live 138% below the poverty line, is good news to over 300,000 Louisianans who will be granted Medicaid coverage this upcoming July 1st. The once inaccessible specialists will now be available across the state to these individuals. Despite Louisiana having a consistent opposition towards Medicaid expansion this is considered by some to be a milestone in state healthcare progress.