Newsflash:
Rep. Barbara Lee LA Medicaid Expansion Louisiana residents understand need for Medicaid expansion, why don't elected leaders?: Editorial
Sunday, 27 April 2014 00:00

Louisiana residents understand need for Medicaid expansion, why don't elected leaders?: Editorial

Written by  Editorial Board | NOLA.com
Rate this item
(0 votes)
The Jeremiah Group, a coalition of religious organizations in New Orleans, with city and community leaders spoke to the press before boarding the bus to deliver the letters to the Governor asking the state to accept federal money to expand Medicaid The Jeremiah Group, a coalition of religious organizations in New Orleans, with city and community leaders spoke to the press before boarding the bus to deliver the letters to the Governor asking the state to accept federal money to expand Medicaid

Gov. Bobby Jindal and the legislators backing his rejection of the Medicaid expansion provided under the Affordable Care Act are out of step with the people of Louisiana. Pollsters this month found that while 62 percent of Louisianians disapprove of President Barack Obama's handling of health care, that doesn't mean they want his health care act nullified.

Instead, 52 percent of people polled in Louisiana want their congressional representatives to work to improve the Affordable Care Act, according to The New York Times Upshot/Kaiser Family Foundation poll. And 52 percent believe our state should expand Medicaid with the federal money that is being offered by the Obama administration.

Yet the six Republican members of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee blocked Democratic Sen. Ben Nevers' bill last week to allow Louisiana residents to decide the fate of the Medicaid expansion.

Do they not trust voters? Or are they afraid of being labeled by ultraconservative political activists as supporters of President Obama's reforms? Or both?

Whatever their motivation, they are doing a disservice to the people of Louisiana. And not only to the more than 242,000 uninsured state residents estimated to benefit from the Medicaid expansion.

Every Louisiana resident will suffer the repercussions of Gov. Jindal's stubborn refusal to accept the $16 billion in new Medicaid money. Our federal tax dollars will go to fund something somewhere else, instead of being sent back to Louisiana. Hospitals and doctors will wind up treating the uninsured in emergency rooms and swallowing the cost. An estimated 15,600 new health care-related jobs that could strengthen Louisiana's economy won't materialize.

The Jindal administration's arguments against the Medicaid expansion are weak and getting weaker.

The federal government will pay 100 percent of the expansion costs for the first three years and phase in a 10 percent share for the state after that. Yet Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kliebert testified in the Health and Welfare meeting Wednesday that the Medicaid expansion would be too expensive for Louisiana.

Her argument doesn't add up.

She told committee members that the state would have to pay $1.7 billion over a decade for the expansion. But the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Office's 10-year estimate is $886 million. In the first three years, the expansion would reduce state spending, the fiscal office found.

"You're talking about a worst case scenario," Sen. David Heitmeier, the committee chairman, told Ms. Kliebert.

A new Congressional Budget Office report further undermines her argument. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said this week that the April CBO update shows the cost of the expansion for states will be less than originally estimated.

States will spend only 1.6 percent more on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program than they would have spent without health reform -- and roughly one-third less than the CBO predicted in February.

That doesn't include the savings from no longer having to pay for uncompensated care for the people newly covered by Medicaid.

Ms. Kliebert also argued, as Gov. Jindal has been, that the Medicaid expansion "prioritizes coverage with able-bodied adults to those with disabilities." Not so, according to an advocate for Louisianians with mental and physical disabilities.

Many uninsured residents who would be covered by the Medicaid expansion are "living with chronic illnesses and disabilities," Lois Simpson, executive director of the Advocacy Center in Louisiana, wrote in a March 30 opinion piece in The Shreveport Times. Moreover, she said, providing access to health care coverage to poor state residents could prevent disabilities.

The governor is "presenting a false choice," she wrote.

Ms. Kliebert owes her job to the governor and was echoing his views to the Senate committee. But she should be ashamed as health secretary to argue against health coverage for tens of thousands of uninsured Louisiana residents.

In contrast, former DHH secretary David Hood is fighting to try to get lawmakers to do the right thing and take the Medicaid money.

Mr. Hood, who ran DHH for Republican Gov. Mike Foster, supports Sen. Nevers' legislation to allow Louisianians to decide whether to accept the Medicaid money.

Sen. Nevers' Senate Bill 96, which stalled in the Health and Welfare Committee, would put a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot asking voters that question. The amendment would direct the Department of Health and Hospitals to file everything necessary by Jan. 1, 2015, to take the federal funding to provide Medicaid to residents who are at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty rate.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that would provide coverage for roughly 242,000 Louisianians who have no health insurance now and can't get coverage elsewhere.

Sen. Nevers said he isn't giving up and may offer a substitute bill. His dedication is admirable.

"This (bill) is not for me, nor for my family, but for those that are less fortunate ...," he told Health and Welfare committee members. If Gov. Jindal and the senators who voted against his bill cared as much as Sen. Nevers does, they would put people over politics and take the Medicaid money.

Link to original article from NOLA.com

Read 2174 times Last modified on Monday, 28 April 2014 20:18

ERA Legislation in your State

Unratified states Gold - Ratified States Purple

Latest News from the Lee Campaign

Latest News from the Grayson Campaign

Latest News from the Schapira Campaign

  • Standard-Bearer in Pivotal Arizona Congressional Race
    Standard-Bearer in Pivotal Arizona Congressional Race

    With early ballots in the mail, and only three weeks from the August 28th primary, State Senator David Schapira has emerged as the Democratic standard-bearer in a closely watched and increasingly nasty three-way congressional race in Arizona that many observers see as a litmus test for national Democratic chances to pick up critical seats in Congress.

    Written on Thursday, 09 August 2012 01:45 Read more...
  • Harry Mitchell Endorses David Schapira for Congress
    Harry Mitchell Endorses David Schapira for Congress

    “The primary in Congressional District 9 has pitted three of the brightest members of the Democratic Party in Arizona against each other. All three candidates are leaders in our state and I am honored to call them friends.

    Written on Thursday, 26 July 2012 12:14 Read more...
  • A Guest Post From Arizona Progressive State Senator David Schapira
    A Guest Post From Arizona Progressive State Senator David Schapira

    Endorsements are a funny thing. Most of them aren't worth anything at all. I have two friends running in the Democratic primary in Arizona's brand new 9th CD, Kyrsten Sinema and Andrei Cherny. Kyrsten is a progressive and Andrei is somewhere in his own world ideologically. But the third guy... well, he's the one who's been endorsed by Raúl-- and by PDA. Whomever wins the August 28th primary is, likelier than not, headed to Congress. That third guy is David Schapira, the Senate Democratic Leader.

    Written on Saturday, 30 June 2012 13:38 Read more...
  • David Schapira Receives PDA Endorsement
    David Schapira Receives PDA Endorsement

    On the May Inside the Party call, David Schapira (AZ-9) received the PDA National endorsement. Currently David Schapira is the Arizona State Senate Democratic Leader.

    Written on Thursday, 24 May 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • Arizona Communications Workers of America State Council Endorses David Schapira for Congress
    Arizona Communications Workers of America State Council Endorses David Schapira for Congress

    The Arizona Communications Workers of America (CWA) State Council announced today their endorsement of Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, D-Tempe, in the race for Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District. The state council is comprised of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association (AZCPOA), the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and multiple CWA local affiliates.

    Written on Thursday, 17 May 2012 19:55 Read more...
  • Congressman Raúl Grijalva Endorses David Schapira
    Congressman Raúl Grijalva Endorses David Schapira

    Congressman Raúl Grijalva, AZ-07, today announced his endorsement of Arizona Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, D-Tempe, in his campaign for Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District. “Voters are looking for candidates who stand up for what they believe in and can win, not by hiding their values, but by sharing them with voters. David is that candidate,” said Rep. Grijalva.

    Written on Monday, 30 April 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • Arizona Union Rights Stripped

    Arizona Governor Jan Brewer pushes the country's most anti-union agenda yet. David Shapira, Democratic leader of the Arizona state senate, slams his Republican colleagues. Welcome back to "The Ed Show." Jan Brewer and the Arizona Republicans are on a tear. they are on the offensive. they are on a mission to completely destroy public employee unions. have you heard the story before?

    Written on Thursday, 02 February 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • State Senator David Schapira Jumps Into District 9 Congressional Race
    State Senator David Schapira Jumps Into District 9 Congressional Race

    As predicted, former state Senator Kyrsten Sinema's not the only Democrat with her eye on Arizona's new Congressional seat -- this morning, state Senate Minority Leader David Schapira announced that he, too, will run in Arizona's newly formed 9th Congressional district.

    Written on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 00:00 Read more...

Sign the ERA Petition

ERADemandButton

On Friday, September 12th more than 150 activists will go to DC and Demand that their Senators and Representatives support removing the ratification deadline from the ERA (SJ Res 15 and HJ Res 113)

Button-SignERAPetition

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

Like Rep. Barbara Lee

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of