The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, on Medicaid expansion:

Feb. 28

The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, on Medicaid expansion:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Feb. 27 became the latest Republican governor to decide to accept the expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care act. ...

Christie said he's "no fan of the Affordable Care Act," but said that he has to "make all my judgments as governor based on what is best for New Jersey." That is what every governor should do.

If only Gov. Bobby Jindal would do the same for Louisiana residents. Instead, he is stubbornly resisting the Medicaid expansion, which is a key component of the president's Affordable Care Act. In fact, he seems to be ratcheting up his opposition. That is a shame.

Given the number of Louisianians without health insurance and the high level of poverty in our state, his position makes no sense. Residents here without health care ranges from a state estimate of 675,954 to 895,800 in a Kaiser Family Foundation study. So the best case scenario is that almost one in seven residents is without health insurance.

If the state expands the federal program, the Kaiser report estimated that an additional 398,000 Louisiana residents would get coverage. The Medicaid expansion combined with other provisions of the Affordable Care Act could cut the number of Louisianians without health insurance by 60 percent, the report found.

With the high rates of diabetes and other chronic but treatable conditions in Louisiana, the broader access to basic health care could save lives. That alone is reason to participate. ...

Jindal defended sticking to his decision in a statement. "The reality is Medicaid relies on an outdated model that costs taxpayers billions of dollars for poor outcomes," he said.

Whatever the faults of the system, though, it is the easiest way to get health care to low-income Louisiana residents. There really is no other plan on the table.

Having hundreds of thousands of residents without access to health care or who only use the emergency room is a sure path to "poor outcomes." Jindal, a health policy expert, ought to understand that.

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