Officials see bright future for Medicaid expansion
BATON ROUGE - The state’s expanded Medicaid program, dubbed Healthy Louisiana, is expected by officials to become the blueprint for expansion of the program across the country.
Health Secretary Rebekah Gee says the state has created a plan that allows food stamp applicants to sign up for Medicaid, making the system more efficient.
Also, Gee points out that hospitals are working to ensure that patients who arrive for care while uninsured are enrolled for coverage before they leave the facility.
As an OB/GYN, the health secretary told The American Press that she became interested in medical policy because she wanted to have a more widespread impact after she became frustrated with seeing problems over and over again that seemed they couldn’t be fixed.
“I’m here to be a problem solver,” Gee said. “Right now is the most innovative time for our state in the nation. The last time we had this much opportunity to change health was in 1965 when Medicaid and Medicare were passed.”
According to Gee, the Medicaid expansion was the right thing to do for the health of residents and the state’s finances. Rather than costing the state more, she says the program’s expansion will bring $184 million in savings for Louisiana in the upcoming year.
“This money is federal money; it’s our tax dollars. Our tax dollars were going to pay for 30 other states to have expanded Medicaid programs,” she said. “Now we’re bringing it back, to the tune of almost 1.8 billion new dollars of federal money here in Louisiana.”
Gee also notes that the expansion will boost the economy by creating more than 15,000 jobs.