Hospitals in LA, TX suffer from failure to expand Medicaid

Hospitals in Texas and Louisiana--two states that failed to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act--struggle with the continued fallout from that decision.

General Mid City, a safety-net provider in Baton Rouge, Louisiana's largest city, planned to close its emergency room until the state Department of Health and Hospitals bailed it out to the tune of $18 million, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. And that respite will only last until the next fiscal year. That has led to the state's Democratic lawmakers to pressure Gov. Bobby Jindal to accept Medicaid expansion.

"If we want to protect our hospitals, there's one easy solution: We can accept billions in Medicaid dollars to reduce the number of uninsured people in Louisiana," state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome (D) told the Times-Picayune. "This simple action will save our hospitals that are struggling with the escalating costs of uncompensated care." State officials said the bailout provided to the hospital is an example of how Louisiana can respond to financial crises affecting the safety net as they arise.

Meanwhile, Texas will be on the hook for some 9 percent of the $414.5 billion price tag for expanding Medicaid in the 23 states that have agreed to the expansion. Altogether, that will total $36.2 billion, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Altogether, 23 states refused to expand Medicaid; Pennsylvania received a waiver to expand its program late last month. Those that refused to expand will forego some $423.6 billion in Medicaid funding from last year until the year 2022, according to a study from the Urban Institute. Every dollar spent on the state level would bring in $147 in federal monies, according to the study.

It is expected that Texas will not seriously consider expanding Medicaid until 2017, after President Barack Obama leaves office, according to the Dallas Morning News.

To learn more:
- read the New Orleans Times-Picayune article
- here's the Dallas Morning News article

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