Gov. Jindal asked to rethink Medicaid expansion
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal is being urged by Louisiana Democratic leaders and advocacy groups to reconsider his opposition to expanding the state's Medicaid coverage, now that the presidential campaign is over.
President Barack Obama's re-election is expected to stall efforts to repeal the national health care overhaul, which includes the Medicaid expansion.
The head of the Louisiana Democratic Party, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, said families, businesses and health care providers can benefit from the law's provisions.
"Our people need access to that care," Peterson said in a statement. "The Louisiana health care provider community — from private practices to community hospitals to our public hospital system — needs access to the resources that this law provides and that other states will receive the benefit of, regardless of whatever political gains Gov. Jindal believes his obstruction gains him."
Jindal hadn't responded Thursday to multiple requests for comment about whether he'd change his stance.
Jan Moller, leader of the Louisiana Budget Project, which advocates for low- and moderate-income families, also is pushing Jindal to take another look at the possibility of expanding the government-run health insurance program to give more people access to care.
"Our governor and legislators should put politics aside and move forward quickly to take advantage of this historic opportunity," Moller said in a post-election statement.
The Medicaid expansion would cover adults up to 133 percent of the poverty level — $14,856 for an individual or $30,656 for a family of four, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. Estimates are that as many as 400,000 Louisiana residents would be eligible to get insurance under the expansion.
Jindal has said he won't allow Louisiana to participate in the expansion, though the federal government will cover the full costs from 2014 through 2016 and pick up most of the price tag after that.