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Louisiana Becomes 31st State to Expand Medicaid

January 15, 2016

Louisiana became the latest state to expand Medicaid after Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed an executive order on January 12, his first full day in office.

“This is the right thing to do. This is not even a close call,” Edwards said as he signed the executive order, making Louisiana the 31st state, plus Washington, DC, to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid under the terms of the Affordable Care Act.

Medicaid expansion could help a significant percentage of Louisiana’s nearly 65,000 direct-care workers obtain health coverage. PHI data shows that an estimated 45 percent of Louisiana direct-care workers lacked health insurance during the time period spanning 2011 to 2013.

A separate analysis, conducted in 2015 by the Louisiana Legislative Fiscal Office, shows that Medicaid expansion will benefit nearly 300,000 low-income Louisianans.

Louisiana direct-care workers are among the lowest-paid in the country, with personal care aides earning a median hourly wage of just $8.58 in 2014, PHI data shows. Home health aides’ median wage was $9.03 per hour, while nursing assistants earned $9.47.

A 2015 PHI report on Medicaid expansion, Too Sick to Care, explained that the failure of certain states to expand Medicaid disproportionately affects people living in southern states.

— by Matthew Ozga

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