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ICYMI: Another Report Highlights Gov. Edwards’ Leadership Cutting Louisiana’s Uninsured Rate

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Uninsured rate fell by half thanks to Gov. Edwards championing Medicaid expansion

In case you missed it, The Advocate highlighted a new report from the Commonwealth Fund showing Louisiana as an outlier in lowering the state’s uninsured rate. Under Gov. John Bel Edwards’ leadership, nearly 500,000 Louisianians have health insurance coverage because he expanded Medicaid. This news follows another report from LSU finding that the state’s uninsured fell by half—almost entirely because Gov. Edwards’ expanded Medicaid.
Read excerpts from the article below:
The Advocate: “Medicaid Expansion Made Louisiana An Outlier In National Trend Of Stalling Insurance Coverage”
The gains in health insurance coverage Louisiana experienced after expanding Medicaid three years ago—leading to about half a million people getting coverage—made the state an exception to a national trend of stalling or even eroding insurance coverage.
A new report from the Commonwealth Fund, a New York health care think tank, shows Louisiana’s drop in uninsured from 2016 to 2017 came as 16 other states experienced upticks of at least one percentage point in their uninsured rates. Low-income people made the largest gains in health coverage in Louisiana, as Medicaid expansion drove down the state’s uninsured rate.
The findings, outlined in the Commonwealth Fund’s 2019 Scorecard on State Health System Performance, track with what LSU researchers found in an annual survey released last year: Medicaid expansion drove down the uninsured rate dramatically in the year after Gov. John Bel Edwards expanded the program.
The LSU survey found the uninsured rate fell by half–from 22.7% to 11.4%–from 2015 to 2017, almost entirely because of the expansion of Medicaid. The expansion began offering Medicaid coverage to adults whose incomes were under 138% of the federal poverty line, or about $34,638 for a family of four as of 2018.
The new report shows Louisiana’s expansion came at a time when more than half of states simply held onto earlier gains in insurance coverage. Louisiana was “one notable exception” from the trend, the authors wrote, experiencing a 3 percentage-point drop in its adult uninsured rate—from 15% to 12% from the end of 2016 to the end of 2017.
“There are a mix of things Louisiana needs to address but Medicaid expansion was a very important first step for the state,” Sara Collins, a co-author of the report, said in a conference call with reporters.