After Opting Out of the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion, Louisiana is set to Evict over 30,000 Residents from Nursing Homes
Medicaid Expansion was one of the key components of the landmark 2011 Affordable Care Act (known either lovingly or disdainfully as “Obamacare”). By offering states the ability to offer Medicaid to families making up to 138% of the federal poverty level, over 15 million Americans were able to gain access to health insurance. But with the encouragement of the White House, some red states are now rolling back the expanded Medicaid coverage and the collateral damage — as with most Republican policies — is impacting the most vulnerable citizens among us. Louisiana — a state that Trump carried by 20 points — is set to evict over 30,000 elderly, needy and disabled residents from nursing homes in the coming months. Because that’s how America becomes Great Again.
USA Today Network’s “News Star” reports:
“The Louisiana Department of Health is beginning the process of notifying all impacted enrollees that some people may lose their Medicaid eligibility,” Department of Health spokesman Bob Johannessen said. “The goal of the department is to give notice to all affected people as soon as possible in order that they begin developing their appropriate plans.”
The current budget, which passed the Lousiana House, cuts $230 Million in Medicaid funding. On the other end of the funding spectrum, it calls for the expiration of a one-percent sales tax saving approximately $880 million. Yes, you read that math correctly. To offset a 1% sales tax, people are getting kicked out of assisted living facilities.
“This Makes Us Look Heartless”
Even in the reddest of states, you can still find voices of reason and compassion. Louisiana State Senate Finance Chair Eric LaFleur (D) said the move makes the state “look heartless”. Senator Regina Barrow (D) called it “mass chaos”. And Senator Greg Tarver (D) asked:
“What type of people are we in Louisiana if we put people out who built Louisiana? This is horrible.”
Meanwhile, the director of the Louisiana Nursing Home Association, Mark Berger warned that the “vast majority” of assisted living facilities in the state would close, and with that, 25,000 or more jobs would be eliminated.
Even some Republicans were aghast at the situation:
Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, said the Department of Health should be focused on identifying fraud and saving money there “rather than kicking grandma out of the nursing home.”
Perhaps nobody laid out what’s at stake from a humanitarian perspective than Laurie Boswell, the chief executive of the Holy Angels nursing home in Shreveport:
“This is our cry for help. There is no place for them to go.”
Unfortunately, there is always a place for the disabled, elderly and infirmed to go when Republicans control Washington: down.