BATON ROUGE, LA — One by one, proposed laws to expand Medicaid are being shot down at the capitol. The latest in the line, Senate Bill 125, died in the Senate Finance committee. Even though lawmakers keep shooting Medicaid expansion down, those who would benefit from the expansion are hopeful that the last expansion bill they have left will make it.
As a registered nurse and healthcare advocate, Alma Stewart speaks to people everyday who say they need Medicaid Expansion.
"There are people right here in Baton Rouge. There are more than 57,000 people right here in East Baton Rouge parish who would benefit from the state accepting these federal funds," Stewart shared.
On Monday senators shot down yet another attempt to make Medicaid into a larger program.
"While I am disappointed, that won't stop our fight to try and protect those who are most in need, the working class families of the state of Louisiana," shared Senator Karen Peterson, the bill’s author.
The attempt modeled the expansion after what's called the Arkansas Model, a plan both DHH and the governor don't like.
"It doesn't make sense to expand Medicaid so that 41% of our population is in this welfare program," emphasized Governor Bobby Jindal.
"The Arkansas Model is not a silver bullet. We've been watching the developments in the Northern states very carefully and also the guidance issued out by CNS shows us it's still not a viable option," advised Interim DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert.
Stewart and hundreds of others have flooded the steps of the capitol every week since session started, campaigning for Medicaid expansion. Even though the governor has said he will veto any Medicaid expansion, Stewart and other supporters are convinced he's listening to them.
"We can only hope that the governor will have a softening of his heart on this issue and to understand that he represents all the people of this state," Stewart shared.
The last potential Medicaid expansion bill will be heard on the House Floor on Tuesday.