Michelle Southern reporting.
Today is the first day Louisianans can enroll in Medicaid under the newly expanded program. Gov. John Bel Edwards and DHH Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee will attend an enrollment kick-off event this morning at University Medical center in New Orleans. Edwards says Louisiana is simply bringing federal tax dollars home to put them to work for the poor.
"So that our hospitals get reimbursed, our employers benefit from having a healthier more productive workforce, and in the process we're going to save the state $184 million dollars in the first year," said Edwards.
Edwards says "Healthy Louisiana" will bring health insurance coverage to an estimated 375,000 working citizens in the state. He says that's very important, but that's not entirely what Medicaid expansion is all about.
"This is ultimately about improving the health of the people of Louisiana, and achieving better health outcomes," said Edwards.
Edwards says with the $600 million dollar budget deficit for next fiscal year, this newly expanded program will be a significant money saver for the state.
Dr. Gee says it's vital that citizens of our state start doing things that improve their health like eating better and exercising, and this new program will be the extra factor and getting people on that path.
"This is a huge step along that way, and we're so excited about seeing the benefits to the health of our population, as well as to relive that anxiety that so many families around our state have," said Gee.
For information about how to sign up or find out if you now qualify, log on to healthy.la.gov, or call 1-888-342-6207.