David Hood and Fred Cerise term it a path to regular health care for working adults
Two former Louisiana health care secretaries are pushing for expanding Medicaid in the state to cover thousands of uninsured residents, pitting them against Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal.
David Hood was secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals under Republican former Gov. Mike Foster. Fred Cerise was DHH secretary under Democratic former Gov. Kathleen Blanco. The two men were featured in a newspaper ad published in The Advocate newspaper calling the Medicaid expansion a good deal for Louisiana.
"Medicaid expansion offers a path to regular access to health care for working adults," the ad says.
Hood and Cerise said the inclusion of up to 400,000 uninsured people in the government-run insurance program would improve people's health, be a good financial deal for the state and help Louisiana's health care delivery system.
Jindal opposes the expansion, calling it an improper growth of a costly and inefficient government entitlement program that weakens the private insurance market. The federal government would fully cover the costs of new patients' health care during the first couple years, then its share would gradually decline to 90 percent.
"Ultimately the program as it exists today is unsustainable," Jindal's health secretary Bruce Greenstein told lawmakers this week.
The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation estimates it would cost Louisiana $1.2 billion over 10 years to cover the additional low-income residents in exchange for $15.8 billion in federal funding.
Hood and Cerise said Louisiana taxpayers will pay for the federal Medicaid expansion whether the state's citizens benefit from participation or not.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)