"Let Louisiana decide! Let Louisiana decide!" was the chant heard Thursday morning from the front steps of University Health in Shreveport. State and local Democrats including Mayor Cedric Glover and Caddo Parish Commissioner Stephanie Lynch were joined by health care professionals and church leaders pushing for Medicaid expansion.
Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal has refused to accept $16-billion in federal funding to expand Medicaid claiming it will cost the state billions in the long run.
"We believe this is not a partisan issue. Republican Governors in Arizona for example, Republican Governors in Ohio, even Chris Christie have decided this makes sense for their states," says Kirstin Alvanitakis, with the Louisiana Democratic Party.
A pair of amendments introduced in the Louisiana House and Senate would allow the decision to go to voters on November 4th if approved by 2/3rds vote. SB-96 will go before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee for discussion next week.
In Caddo Parish 42,000 remain uninsured and statewide the number is 240,000. Commissioner Lynch says Medicaid expansion would nearly reduce the number of uninsured in Caddo Parish by half.
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