Louisiana expanded Medicaid coverage a year ago this month. To mark the anniversary, Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday (July 6) released a report touting the benefits of extending the government-funded health care program to more people, an issue on which he campaigned in 2015 and that he made a top priority upon taking office in January 2016.
The governor’s rosy report comes at a time when the federal program is threatened. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a plan to curb federal spending on Medicaid, and the Senate Republican leadership is pushing a similar proposal. Edwards, a Democrat, says the rollback would result in people getting worse health care coverage and dying.
He says Medicaid expansion has given better, more affordable health care coverage to many Louisiana residents and brought the state billions of federal dollars that would otherwise be spent somewhere else. Most of the cost of running Medicaid expansion is covered by the federal government, not the state.
Here are some of the numbers that Edwards is highlighting:
21.7 percent — The portion of Louisiana residents without health insurance in 2013.
12.7 percent — The portion of Louisiana residents without health insurance now. The drop is credited to Medicaid expansion and is one of the largest of any state, Edwards says.
$199 million — Amount of state savings as a result of Medicaid expansion. Louisiana did not have to provide as much money to hospitals as in the past, and it received more federal funding for some services that it previously provided. It has also charged the organizations that manage Medicaid programs more in taxes. The state estimates it spent $3.3 billion overall on Medicaid and that the federal government spent $7.6 billion for Louisiana.
433,412 — Number of Louisiana residents who signed up for Medicaid in the year since the expansion. This includes 52,393 in New Orleans, 44,872 people in Jefferson Parish and 16,046 people in St. Tammany Parish. About 61 percent of these new enrollees were women. It’s thought that the vast majority of these people didn’t have health insurance previously, although some of them could have held private insurance.
30,700 — Louisiana residents who have received mental health treatment after enrolling for coverage through Medicaid expansion. About 26,200 people are receiving outpatient services, 4,500 inpatient services.
8,700 — People receiving treatment for substance abuse as a result of the Medicaid expansion. About 4,200 people are using outpatient services, 4,500 people inpatient treatment.
3,169 — Newly enrolled Louisiana residents who had doctors remove polyps that could have caused colon cancer. More than 10,000 people have been screened for colon cancer through the Medicaid expansion. More than 150 have received a colon cancer diagnosis, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
2,662 — Louisiana residents newly diagnosed with diabetes and receiving treatment as a result of Medicaid expansion. Another 6,800 people have been diagnosed with hypertension.
154 — Number of Louisiana women with new Medicaid coverage and diagnosed with breast cancer since joining the program. More than 15,000 women have received screenings through Medicaid expansion since it started, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.