Newly elected Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed an executive order that will expand Medicaid coverage in his state under the Affordable Care Act, fulfilling a campaign promise set by the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, according to an article in the New York Times.
Now 31 states and the District of Columbia have expanded their Medicaid programs under the ACA. In Louisiana, 298,000 uninsured adults will be eligible for Medicaid under the expansion and an additional 224,000 adults with private insurance would also be eligible, the Times reports.
"This will not only afford [Louisiana residents] peace of mind," Edwards said a signing event at the Louisiana Capitol, but also "help prevent them from slipping further into poverty and give them a fighting chance for a better life."
However, Edwards' efforts have been met with some opposition, as at least one state legislator--Republican Rep. Alan Seabaugh--said Monday he intends to block the Medicaid expansion plan. Whether that is likely to happen, however, is unclear.
Still, more and more states and federal government programs are hopping on board with expansion efforts. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently gave California's Medicaid program the green light on its waiver to transform and expand Medi-Cal. A recent study also tracked the effects of Arkansas and Kentucky's differing approaches to expanding Medicaid, finding that both states were able to expand healthcare access as a result.
President Barack Obama plans to travel to Louisiana--and states that have not yet expanded their Medicaid programs--to discuss the issue as his presidency winds down, according to another New York Times article.