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Analysis: Little data for Medicaid opposition

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 17, 2013 at 4:01 pm •  Published: March 17, 2013

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — If Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration wants to back up its claims that the governor's rejection of the expansion of Medicaid isn't political grandstanding, it might be helpful to present more data and research to citizens and lawmakers.

A former Jindal administration Medicaid director and Republican lawmakers say they haven't received enough information to support the GOP governor's refusal to cover more uninsured adults through Medicaid under the new federal health care law.

Jindal's health secretary, Bruce Greenstein, acknowledges his department is relying on research done in 2010. Since then, further details about the law have been provided by the federal government and by other independent reviewers.

Even the governor doesn't cite the cost figures from the 2010 research anymore.

The decision to reject or accept billions of dollars in federal health care aid under the Affordable Care Act has wide-ranging implications on thousands of Louisiana residents' health care, health providers, the private insurance market, businesses, economic development and the state budget.

Rallying cries for more in-depth analysis of Medicaid expansion in Louisiana are growing.

Senate Insurance Committee Chairman Dan "Blade" Morrish, R-Jennings, said the decision must include consideration of "what is really the best thing for Louisiana to do, exclusive of the politics."

The nonpartisan Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, a government watchdog group, also is pressing for more examination into the long-term implications of Jindal's refusal to expand Medicaid. PAR's report was co-authored by a one-time Jindal administration health care official, former state Medicaid director Don Gregory.

"The hundreds of thousands of Louisianans who do not have health insurance deserve a comprehensive examination of the expansion option. Also, Louisiana taxpayers deserve an accurate analysis of the estimated costs and benefits," PAR wrote in its report.

If the governor doesn't want to expand Medicaid, how does he intend to care for Louisiana's uninsured, PAR asks, saying the administration needs to offer an alternative or look into compromises with the federal government under the health care law.

Jindal, considered a 2016 White House contender, opposes the Medicaid expansion allowed under the federal health overhaul, calling it inappropriate growth of an inefficient and poorly managed health program.

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