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Medicaid Expansion Passes Senate, Gov. Candidates Must Take Stand

BATON ROUGE – Today the state senate voted 31-8 in favor of legislation by Republican House Speaker Chuck Kleckley that will enable the next governor of Louisiana to finally expand Medicaid. The measure won final passage, and cannot be vetoed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. Passage of HCR 75 opens the door to billions of available federal health care dollars, desperately needed in the face of the $1.6 billion GOP budget disaster.

The vote represents a victory for Louisiana families, for those struggling in the face of spiraling health care costs and hospital closures, and for common sense. It further represents an opportunity for every candidate in the governor’s race to go on the record with their commitment to expanding Medicaid for Louisiana taxpayers on day one.

Rep. John Bel Edwards has been a leader on this issue throughout the legislative session. He is the only candidate for governor who has gone on the record with his support for Medicaid expansion. Indeed, were it not for his efforts, the legislation would likely not have passed both chambers of the legislature.

“After today’s vote, every candidate in the race to replace Gov. Jindal has the opportunity, and the responsibility, to plainly state their position on expanding Medicaid,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director for the Louisiana Democratic Party. “The mechanism is there, the voters deserve to hear a commitment from each candidate one way or the other. No more excuses.”