Analyst: Republican ACA replacement could put thousands of Louisianians in jeopardy of losing health insurance

Analyst: Republican ACA replacement could put thousands of Louisianans in jeopardy of losing health insurance
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Analysts say the Republican Obamacare replacement that passed through the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday could put thousands of Louisianians in jeopardy of losing their health insurance.

"It would essentially end the Medicaid expansion program as we know it," said Jan Moller, with the Louisiana Budget Project.

Under the House plan, enrollment under Medicaid expansion would freeze in 2020. If an individual were to fall off the rolls, they would not be able to rejoin. The Medicaid expansion population would then shrink over time, according to Moller.

"This doesn't make the need for healthcare go away, but it takes away the resources that the state gets to help pay for that healthcare," Moller said

Shortly after taking office, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order starting Medicaid expansion in Louisiana to help provide coverage to those living just above the poverty line.

As of May 1, 423,566 people have signed-up under the program, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

That includes more than 35,000 in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Among them is Krista Bordelon. A single mom with three kids, she said it was hard to make ends meet before she enrolled in the program.

Now she worries what could happen if that insurance goes away.

"Especially as a mom, I need to make sure I'm healthy for my kids, and to be able to continue to operate my business," she said.

"If anything would happen to me, and I wouldn't be able to have anything covered, or if there was an emergency and I needed to get into the emergency room, I have no idea where those funds would come from," Bordelon added.

Other Louisianians are optimistic about the healthcare replacement, with many sounding off on Facebook about rising premiums under the Affordable Care Act.

"Can't reach my deductible because I barely use it and it still goes up every yr," said Facebook user Sterling Kidder.

"My niece has it and it went up to 1500.00 a month! Who in the world can afford that? Also, she can't keep the same doctors she has had for years! That's what Obamacare did for her," said Carolyn Devall.

All of the Republican House members of Louisiana's congressional delegation voted for the bill. Rep. Cedric Richmond, the sole Democrat, voted against.

The healthcare replacement bill now heads to the Senate, where it will likely face a re-write.

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