Letter: Medicaid expansion a good idea

Comments about Advocate article April 26: “Kleckley: Medicaid expansion a no-go this year.”

One can appreciate our state’s legislative debates over the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. Can the opposing sides address identical aspects of the act to better help the electorate better understand and become a part of the decision? Otherwise, we will continue to hear one side addressing an aspect and the other another aspect. The debates need to focus on specific aspects, and then move on to other aspects.

The Affordable Care Act, and its Medicaid expansion, were written and/or have been influenced by our state’s elected legislative representatives. These representatives are of all political persuasions and professions.

The Medicaid expansion is an option for each state to adopt and offers an incentive to allow the expansion and its costs at 100 percent to the federal government for several years The state then can opt out of the expansion after three years without any cost to the state. What a deal!

This three-year, 100 percent reimbursement to medical costs can allow our Katrina-recovering medical, nursing and associated medical care schools to better prepare for cost increases in the benefiting population. This benefits all who require medical attention: the financially secured, the insured and others. Otherwise, our medical facilities will continue their ramp-up of engaging temporary medical staff from outside the state and sending our currently insured population to facilities outside the state for higher levels of medical treatment that we in Louisiana cannot help our medical facilities to financially justify.

There is no excuse for members of our state’s Legislature to make their decisions based on their inability to understand the act and its Medicaid expansion. To hear a state legislator publicly say he cannot read and understand the act and its Medicaid expansion or to publicly say his decision is based on Google queries is very disquieting. Our elected officials’ references to “Obamacare” instead of the Affordable Care Act immediately prejudges our state’s users of medical care. It becomes very difficult for our electorate to understand the act without bias.

Additionally, whether our legislators are more comfortable with one financial model or another, allowing a free test ride for the next three years will help in this assessment. In the interim, these uninsured medical consumers will bring dollars instead of not-paid invoices to our medical community, while providing the opportunity for our medical, nursing and associated medical providers to ramp-up their medical contributions to Louisiana and society as a whole.

Marc Samuels

project manager

Baton Rouge