The Louisiana Department of Health’s (LDH) innovative enrollment strategies along with the energetic outreach efforts of community organizations, like 504HealthNet, have resulted in the impressive enrollment of 225,900 people in Healthy Louisiana, which is Louisiana’s newly expanded Medicaid program. LDH is receiving nationwide attention for pioneering clever enrollment strategies, such as using enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, to determine Medicaid eligibility, thereby expediting the application process for SNAP beneficiaries. Susan Todd, 504HealthNet’s executive director, emphasized, “This has truly been a collaborative effort by those working locally, state-wide, and nationally.” She also spoke of how, “Medicaid expansion will have an overwhelmingly positive impact on Louisiana’s budget and economy and is a critical step in ensuring access to health care services for everyone in the community.”
Through Medicaid expansion, over 100,000 people in the GNO area will have access to medications, treatment and preventive medicine, to help them manage chronic conditions like diabetes, or seek care when sick with the flu. This will not only strengthen the workforce in our community, but it will prevent people from going into bankruptcy and poverty due to medical bills they cannot pay. Ensuring everyone has medical insurance and access to care is an essential component to improving the health, stability and prosperity of our community.
In addition to providing health care services to Louisianans, Medicaid expansion is projected to increase Louisiana’s economic activity by $1.8 billion. This growth is projected to result in 15,600 new jobs, 30% of which will be outside of the healthcare industry. It will also positively impact Louisiana’s budget by dramatically reducing state spending on uninsured care, generating revenue through existing health plans and provider taxes as revenue increases, and accepting additional federal funding to pay for certain health services that would typically be paid for by the state budget. The tremendous economic benefits coupled with the drastic increase in access to care will lead to a better Louisiana. This is truly a historic moment for our state.