SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Governor John Bel Edwards made a final stop in Shreveport for his statewide tour before the official start of Medicaid expansion in Louisiana.
Medicaid expansion goes into effect Friday, July 1, making Louisiana the 31st state to do so, along with the District of Columbia.
It's been a long road for the governor when it comes to this expansion. Edwards signed the executive order in his second day in office, back on January 12. But enrollment only started this month.
Speaking at his first stop in Shreveport At David Raines Community Health Center, Gov. Edwards told the gathered crowd, "It only started June 1, and as of today, there are 232,000 people. More than 16,000 of those are right here in the Caddo-Bossier region."
"We are going to save 184 million dollars of state general fund,simply by allowing our state dollars back to Louisiana, so we know it's the right thing to do and we're going to deliver better health outcomes," said Governor Edwards.
That community center was selected to be part of the state 'Close the Gap' campaign promoting Medicaid expansion, which is called "Healthy Louisiana." Beginning Friday, the expansion will allow men and women from 19 to 64 years of age to enroll if they qualify.
During a 1-on-1 interview during his visit, Edwards explained why this expansion especially helps 'the working poor.'
"There's up to 375,000 people in Louisiana, 70 percent of whom have full time jobs in tourism, retail, restaurants, you know, different trades. But they don't make enough to be able to buy health insurance."
The governor's second stop was at University Health Medical Center where he received a tour of the facility and greeted a large gathering of employees, supporters and elected officials.
The Medicaid applicants don't have to have a job to qualify or have children. A single person must make less than $16,200 a year to qualify, or less than $33,500 a year for a family of four.