Louisiana gets innovative to catch up on Medicaid expansion: Editorial

Louisiana is behind on expanding Medicaid because the state refused to accept the extra federal money until Gov. John Bel Edwards took office in January. But an innovative approach by the Department of Health and Hospitals could allow tens of thousands of eligible residents to be approved almost immediately.

That could make a huge difference for those families and would jumpstart the state’s effort to sign up an estimated 375,000 Louisianians expected to qualify for Medicaid under the expansion.

DHH officials are “highly confident” that federal Medicaid officials will approve their request to use food stamp records to add uninsured residents to the health care program for low-income residents. A half-dozen other states have been allowed to fast track their enrollment process, but Louisiana would be the first one to use food stamps.

That would not only save time for families, but it would save money for the state as it implements the expansion. “We don’t have to make an eligibility decision” for food stamp recipients, said Ruth Kennedy, who is overseeing the state’s Medicaid expansion. That judgment has already been made by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which issues food stamps.

Ms. Kennedy, who formerly served as DHH’s Medicaid director, said

Article source: https://health.einnews.com/article/325607063/bNUht6Decotuvw9Y?ref=rss&ecode=uiQ1mLaH2KVPSS4e