Louisiana is marking five years since expanding Medicaid coverage for the working poor across our state. To date, more than 600,000 citizens are benefitting from access to quality healthcare that many otherwise have never been able to afford. Gov. John Bel Edwards first adopted Medicaid expansion in 2016 as his first official act as governor, making Louisiana the first state in the Deep South to participate. Since then, it has provided preventive care as well as life-saving diagnosis and treatment for a multitude of serious diseases. This momentous expansion of healthcare coverage has changed the landscape for vulnerable communities and the healthcare sector, and it has provided a critical safety net during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.
“As I have said many times before, adopting Medicaid expansion was the easiest big decision I have made,” said Gov. Edwards. “Providing access to quality health insurance for so many of our people who were working day in and day out but simply couldn’t afford to take care of themselves was a top priority for me and remains so to this day. Especially given the incredible difficulties brought on by the pandemic, I cannot imagine what would have happened to our people had it not been for expansion. It has literally saved lives, jobs, kept our tax dollars at home, significantly lowered the number of uninsured Louisianans and helped keep our rural hospitals open. It was the right decision then and it remains the right decision for our families and state.”
The Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, Courtney N. Phillips, MD, said the fifth anniversary of Medicaid expansion marks a significant milestone in improving the health and well-being of Louisiana residents.
“Five years of Medicaid expansion have enabled us at the Louisiana Department of Health to improve outcomes, make our programs more robust and it’s provided financial stability for our healthcare sector,” Phillips said. “But most importantly, Medicaid expansion has made has made it possible for many more Louisianans to have access to quality care. We are committed to protecting vulnerable communities and providing a safety net for those who may lose health coverage because of economic conditions or other events, and Medicaid has been instrumental in protecting Louisiana communities during the COVID-19 crisis.”