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“Gov. Jindal was right before, Medicaid is key to health care for uninsured” on NOLA.com

There was a time when expanding health coverage was seen as the best way to improve Louisiana’s poor health rankings. Gov. Bobby Jindal supported this idea as recently as November 2008, he was pushing for the “Louisiana Health First” plan, which would have let Louisiana use Medicaid dollars to buy private health coverage for low-income parents and caregivers who earned up to 50 percent of the federal poverty rate – an estimated 60,000 people. The plan also included a pilot program in Lake Charles that would raise Medicaid eligibility to 200 percent of poverty, regardless of whether or not they had children.

Read about that plan and our prescription for Louisiana’s healthcare needs in our op-ed in the Times-Picayune. Continue reading…

Charity hospital system not a substitute for health coverage

Instead of accepting federal dollars to help Louisiana’s poor buy private health insurance, Gov. Bobby Jindal has elected to double down on the state charity hospital system, transitioning the LSU-run system to a series of “public private partnerships.”

Our system is completely unique,” the governor wrote recently, explaining his rationale. “We have been operating a system of 10 state-owned charity hospitals that is now being transformed via public-private partnerships. We are closing two hospitals, providing services instead in local privately run hospitals, and transferring the operations of seven other hospitals to the private sector.

The governor defends this safety-net model of care by pointing to an Oregon study that, he claims, “at the very least raise(s) serious doubts” about the wisdom of expanding health coverage to low-income populations.

But the reality is that these safety-net hospitals often care for the uninsured after they are already sick, where individual coverage empowers people to obtain the preventive care that can improve their health in the long-run.

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Another study shows ACA reduces health insurance costs in Louisiana

Public fears about skyrocketing premiums because of health reform are vastly overstated. That is the main takeaway from a new RAND Corp. study, which finds Louisianans are likely to see their health insurance premiums decrease or remain about the same over the next few years because of the Affordable Care Act.[i] Many could see out-of-pocket savings of hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars per year.

Premiums will likely decrease under ACA

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Despite fears, Affordable Care Act will live up to its name

Children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health coverage

With major provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act set to take effect in just a few months, misconceptions and misplaced fears about the law continue to circulate. Most of these fears center on alleged increases in costs due to the law’s provisions. But the truth is that most Louisianans who have health insurance will notice little or no change come Jan. 1. At the same time, many of their uninsured neighbors and local small businesses will gain access to affordable coverage.

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Employers were dropping health coverage long before Obamacare

By Steve Spires

Skyrocketing health-care premiums; businesses dropping health coverage for their employees; families struggling to pay for health insurance — all issues caused by Obamacare, right? Despite what health reform opponents want to believe, these trends have been plaguing Louisiana companies and working families for more than a decade.

New research from the Economic Policy Institute finds that between the 2000 and 2012, the share of Louisiana workers and their family members covered under health insurance plans provided by their employer dropped from 60.3 to 53 percent. That drop of 7.3 percentage points translates into 276,000 fewer people covered.

Non-elderly population with employer-sponsored insurance
Continue reading…

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