POSTED: Friday, March 8, 2013 - 6:00pm
UPDATED: Monday, March 11, 2013 - 12:59pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — The state is at a stand still when it comes to the Medicaid Expansion Program. And many people are asking the governor to reconsider.
Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the choice to expand their Medicaid programs or not. Many states have made the choice to expand but Governor Jindal says it would be too expensive and not flexible enough for the State of Louisiana.
Friday morning, state activists, doctors and residents came together to speak out about their concerns. And one doctor says this is something that needs to be done. Physician, Heidi Sinclair has seen first hand what direction health care in Louisiana is turning, and she says it's not good.
"Right now we are already paying for people who do not have insurance, its just much less efficient and much more expensive," stated Sinclair.
And those without insurance often times flee to ER's when their problems are at their worse, costing the state more in the end.
"Especially now that I work more with adults we see so many adults coming into the emergency room without insurance who have let their medical problems linger," said Sinclair.
But the solution, some say is right under our noses.
"This would be awesome for the state first of all more than 400 thousand people will actually be accepted, it would be a great stimulus to our economy," said State Representative, Regina Barrow.
The Medicaid expansion would allow half of those without insurance in the state to seek preventative medical care, costing the state nothing for the first three years, and in the long run saving Louisiana billions of dollars.
And in addition to the financial problems without the expansion, Heidi says the future of health care could be affected as well.
"One of the problems with Jindal not accepting the medical money that along with the cuts to LSU is healthcare system is severely damaging the ability for LSU to train future healthcare providers."
By limiting the education opportunities in the LSU system, many aspiring doctors, might possibly turn to other states to learn. "It's quite unlikely that they will return to this state," noted Sinclair.
So now, Heidi and Regina will continue to make their voices heard before the legislative session kicks off in April, and hopefully make an impact on the governor’s decision.
If approved, over 15,000 new jobs would come to our state by 2016 and there would be $1.8 billion dollars in additional economic activity for 2016. These savings are one reason why other states are expanding their Medicaid programs.
So in retrospect, if approved the 70,000 working people in East Baton Rouge alone without health insurance would qualify for the Medicaid expansion.