How the Affordable Care Act affects Louisiana residents

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - In Louisiana, 886,000 residents do not have health insurance. That is 20 percent of our population. Here is a look at how the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect them and those who do carry insurance.

The court says Congress has the right to require people to buy health insurance, but what if you can't afford it?

The Urban Institute reports 18.2 million Americans will be required to buy coverage. Of those people, 10.9 million low income people will be eligible for federal subsidies to help pay for coverage. Two percent of Americans, 7.3 million people, will have to buy coverage and will not get federal help.

Mike Reitz, the President and CEO for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, says while customers will have the option to stick with their current plans or get a new one, you can expect your premiums to go up.

"There are some tremendous burdens including these tax burdens that will increase the cost of the price of health insurance," said Reitz.

There is a big concern that newly insured people will pack doctor's offices and make it harder for everyone to get care in a timely manner. While the nation could face a shortage of doctors in the next decade or so, there has been a big push to draw students into programs that train nurse practitioners and physician assistants to treat patients and prescribe medication.

Say you're supporting three children on very little income. If your family of four earns less than $29,000, you will be eligible for Medicaid, but keep in mind, the Federal Government will not be allowed to deny a state's existing Medicaid funding if the state declines to opt in to new Medicaid expansion.

Louisiana's Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said in a statement, he is deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision. A spokesperson for the State Department of Health and Hospitals told WAFB the DHH was still reviewing the provisions in the law, and was not ready to answer any of our questions.

WAFB tried to ask Governor Bobby Jindal whether Louisiana would opt out, and if so, who would pick up the tab. We were told the Governor was not available to answer our questions.

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