BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - State leaders say Louisiana's decision to expand Medicaid created an economic boom for the state, with the addition of 19,000 jobs. Those jobs were supported by $1.85 billion in federal funds.
A statewide economic impact report was released Tuesday explaining that the injection of federal funds resulted in $3.57 billion of economic activity from business, state and local tax receipts. The governor's office says they knew expanding Medicaid would save money, but they didn't anticipate this sort of boom for the economy.
Governor John Bel Edwards, along with Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Secretary, Dr. Rebekah Gee, and Dr. James A. Richardson from the Public Administration Institute at Louisiana State University, released the report entitled "Medicaid Expansion and the Louisiana Economy."
"We are saving $317 million this year because of the expansion," said Gov. Edwards. "It is costing us less to have more people insured."
Governor Edwards said Louisiana is looking at an estimated budget shortfall of $994 million dollars in the state general fund for the next year, but reiterated that the shortfall would be $317 million more had the state not expanded Medicaid.
"It was the easiest big decision I'll ever make as governor," said Gov. Edwards talking about expanding Medicaid.
On Jan. 12, 2016, Gov. Edwards signed an executive order to bring federal tax dollars back to Louisiana to provide health care for working poor people in the state. "We're improving the fiscal and physical health of our state by giving more people health coverage," said Dr. Gee.
Coverage in the state of Louisiana began on July 1, 2016. Since then, more than 468,000 people have received health coverage, including:
- 183,377 patients receiving preventive care visits
- 35,733 women have been screened for breast cancer, with 338 diagnosed with breast cancer
- 21,037 colon cancer screenings, resulting in 285 cancer diagnoses
- 18,158 adults receiving treatment for substance abuse
You can review the complete Medicaid Expansion study report here: