Louisiana Senate shuts down Medicaid expansion bill
POSTED: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 7:23pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 4:14pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — You won't get to decide if Louisiana will expand its Medicaid program. Wednesday, a push to send the measure to voters didn't make it through committee after four hours of debate.
"I am trying to represent the people that I see when I am walking through the grocery stores; the very people that I see at civic organizations; the very people that pick up the trash in my district and in your district," said Sen. Ben Nevers, (D) Bogolusa.
People like Donna Russo who is a homeless woman is an example. She died just 23 days ago. Senator Nevers says things could have turned out differently for her, if she'd been covered.
"She would have to call EMS and it was 1,000 dollars easily every time she rode in an ambulance and it was about the same amount of money,” said Cynthia Mitchell, from the Sampson New Day Housing Program.
Russo was just one example of why some say this constitutional amendment needs to pass.
"The policy to eliminate disability Medicaid has caused avoidable human suffering."
This Medicaid expansion is something Sen. Nevers has pushed for in the past but now; he says he's ready for the people to voice their opinions.
"Let’s make it a pilot in this great state so other states can see how great we really are."
But this will be the last time during his term that he'll have the chance to stand up for our working poor.
He says it's something people in Louisiana need to vote on. If not, there could be no turning back.
“If we fail to expand Medicaid people will die,” noted Sen. Nevers. “We will continue to have one of the least healthy populations in the Nation."
The amendment was deferred six to two, and the public won't have a chance to vote on it.