Gov. Bobby Jindal’s primary argument against expanding Medicaid coverage for hundreds of thousands of uninsured Louisianans is a moot one, according to a recent report from The New York Times.
Medicaidbreakdowncourtesy of Louisiana Budget Project
Jindal, one of a handful of Republican governors who has vowed to reject Medicaid expansion in 2014 as allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act, has been adamant in his stance that taxpayers in Louisiana will have to pay $3.7 billion over the next 10 years if the state were to opt in to the federal program and add hundreds of thousands of Louisianans to the Medicaid rolls. Many of those residents are the working uninsured who don’t currently qualify for Medicaid under Louisiana’s restrictive guidelines.
The $3.7 billion Jindal has calculated is tied to the law’s requirement that states gradually begin to pay in to the expansion, though it’s worth noting that the feds will cover 100 percent of Medicaid coverage for new recipients for three years, from 2014 to 2016. By 2017, the federal government will cover 95 percent, eventually capping its contribution to 90 percent by 2020.
But what hasn’t been widely reported is that states, according to The New York Times, “are free to reverse the decision [to expand Medicaid] at any time,” which means Louisiana could opt out of the expansion when the federal government stops footing the entire bill.
The Obama administration, in its push for states to participate in the expansion, says “there is no deadline” for expanding Medicaid, though “states would pay a price for delay.”
The program’s expansion would make anyone earning 133 percent less than the federal poverty rate eligible. Based on the state’s current Medicaid eligibility requirements, the annual income for a family of three can be no more than $2,860 — and no, that’s not a typo. Adults without children are also ineligible under the state’s current system.
Census graph courtesy of BudgetProject
According to a recent report prepared by the nonprofit Louisiana Budget Project, Medicaid expansion in Louisiana would raise the annual income eligibility for a family of three to $25,390, or $14,850 for a single person.
Of the estimated 400,000 Louisianans who would become eligible for Medicaid under the 2014 expansion, more than 240,000 have jobs, according to LBP.
With his popularity on the descent, Jindal’s resistance to expanding Medicaid drew ire recently from the state’s ever-popular former-governor Edwin Edwards. Speaking at the fourth annual conference of the Louisiana Retired State Employees Association, the Advocate reports that in his critique, which was infused “with a good dose of Cajun jokes and humor,” Edwards, without saying Jindal’s name, railed on his missteps as governor, one being his stance on expanding Medicaid.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.