Obamacare Breaks Through in Louisiana

If David Vitter had been elected the governor of Louisiana, I know that this would not be happening:

Department of Health and Hospitals [DHH] will begin the massive task Wednesday (June 1) of enrolling 375,000 people into the state’s expanded Medicaid program. The department’s goal is to get Medicaid insurance cards into the hands of more than half of the people eligible for the program by July 1.

Here’s what happened after Democrat John Bel Edwards won a surprise upset victory and became the Bayou State’s governor, replacing the disastrous Bobby Jindal:

…the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced [yesterday] it had approved the state’s plan to use food stamp income eligibility to determine whether people qualify for Medicaid. Louisiana is the first state to receive such an approval through what’s known as a state plan amendment; six other states use a similar method but received approval through a different process that takes much longer to approve.

The approval is “a big deal,” [DHH official, Ruth] Kennedy said, because it will allow Louisiana to speed its enrollment of Medicaid recipients using income data it already has, rather than having to collect new income data from recipients. The food stamp numbers can also be used on an annual basis to reaffirm eligibility, Kennedy said, meaning “we won’t have a large number of people falling off the books.”

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said that enrollment is “another step in our country’s march toward a health care system that works better for everyone.”

So, because a Democrat was elected governor in Louisiana, an estimated 375,000 people in that state will soon have access to health care that they did not have before and would not have otherwise.

How do you calculate the value of that?

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.