Jindal: 41% of Louisiana Residents Would Be in an Expanded Medicaid Program

By Susan Jones | October 28, 2013 | 11:37am EDT

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

(CNSNews.com) - Louisiana is one of 25 states that has not expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income adults under Obamacare, even though the state has a relatively high percentage of uninsured people.

Under Obamacare, the federal government would pay for the states' expanded Medicaid programs for the first three years, but the states that agree to expand their programs would have to pick up ten percent of the tab by 2020 -- and "this isn't free money," said Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal.

"To us, it made no sense to expand Medicaid where for every uninsured person you're covering, you take more than one person out of private insurance," Jindal told "Fox News Sunday."

"Secondly, it would mean 41 percent of our population, Chris, would be in Medicaid. I think you need more people pulling the cart than are in the cart. Third, it would cost my taxpayers up to $1.7 billion over 10 years. This isn't free money."

Jindal advocates a "bottom-up" approach to healthcare reform rather than a "D.C.-based approach." He touted his state's network of charity hospitals, and the shifting of more people out of government programs into private health insurance.

"In Louisiana, we're not only putting more people into private plans, not only are we reforming this charity hospital system, we're also going to have more people working in the private sector than at any time in our state's history, you see average incomes going up. And that's really the best solution, is to give people good-paying jobs and the ability to afford their own healthcare."

Kentucky, another state with a relatively high percentage of uninsured residents, has gone in the opposite direction, deciding to expand its Medicaid program.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that his state has "signed up" 26,000 people so far -- and  of that total, 21,000 are going into the  expanded Medicaid program.

"You know, it's a lot quicker to get somebody enrolled in Medicaid once you find out they're eligible. When you go to the plans (on the healthcare  exchanges), they've got to look at all the details and pick the plans that they want. You know, this is working in Kentucky. We had, and have, some of the worst health statistics in the country, and it's been that way for generations. The only way we're going to get ourselves out of the ditch is some transformational tool. That's what the Affordable Care Act is going to do for us."

Beshear said about a third of the Kentuckians going on Medicaid or getting health plans on the exchanges are under 35 years old. "And that's what's going to happen all over this country...people are going to sign up for this,"  he said.

As CNSNews.com reported last week, Americans who were recipients of means-tested government benefits (including Medicaid) in 2011 outnumbered year-round, full-time workers, according to data released this month by the Census Bureau.

There were 108,592,000 people in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2011 who were recipients of one or more means-tested government benefit programs, the Census Bureau said in data released last week. Meanwhile, according to the Census Bureau, there were 101,716,000 people who worked full-time year round in 2011. That included both private-sector and government workers.

That means there were about 1.07 people getting some form of means-tested government benefit for every 1 person working full-time year round.

As more Americans are placed in expanded Medicaid programs under Obamacare, that ratio of beneficiaries to workers will only become more lopsided.

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