Medicaid Expansion Dollars Could Save Hospitals Across Louisiana
BATON ROUGE — Months after Democratic legislators called for Gov. Bobby Jindal to accept Medicaid expansion dollars and protect Louisiana hospitals, Baton Rouge General today announced it will be closing its Mid-City emergency room within 60 days after Jindal failed to deliver on promised funding to keep the facility open.
“It’s probably a good thing that Governor Jindal is never in Louisiana because the hospital located closest to the Governor’s Mansion is shutting down its emergency room,” said Karen Carter Peterson, chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “Writing op-eds for Politico won’t solve the crisis facing our hospitals. Repealing the Affordable Care Act won’t provide coverage to hundreds of thousands of working Louisianians who lack health insurance. In state after state, Republican governors are realizing that accepting Medicaid expansion dollars is the right decision for their citizens. Jindal is more interested in pandering to Republican voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, and Louisianians are paying the price. I expect we will see even more hospitals close their doors, unless Republican legislators have the courage to stand up to Jindal and do the right thing for the people of Louisiana.”
In August 2014, the hospital announced that pressure from uninsured patients would force it to close the Mid-City emergency room. The Jindal Administration responded by claiming it found $18 million to keep the ER open, but Democrats noted that Jindal officials refused to reveal where they had found the funds, given the state had finished the year with a deficit.
In contrast to Louisiana, states that have accepted Medicaid expansion dollars have seen hospital revenues grow and charity care decline. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Louisiana will lose out on $15.8 billion in federal funding by refusing Medicaid expansion, and Louisiana hospitals will miss out on $8 billion in reimbursements.