LA congressman weighs in on future of Medicaid expansion

LA congressman weighs in on future of Medicaid expansion

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson says he is among Republicans scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump and even bowl a few frames Tuesday night at the White House, where health care is sure to be discussed.

The Congressional Budget Office is expected to report its estimates on the Republican's health care plan possibly as soon as Monday.

Some analysts, including those at the Brookings Institution, have predicted the office will estimate that at least 15 million people could lose coverage under the new American Health Care Act.

The White House insists its plan will offer insurance to every American.

Part of the American Health Care Act would end Medicaid expansion in 2020.

That expansion has been an important provision of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards used his first executive order in office to expand Medicaid in January 2016.

Since then, the governor has said, "Medicaid expansion works, it benefits people, it improves lives, it saves lives."

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals reports that more than 405,000 people considered to be the working poor benefit from it.

"I know that there has been such great success with the expansion of Medicaid with people now getting preventive care and things like that, instead of just heading off to the emergency rooms before they had no type of coverage," state Rep. Helena Moreno, D-New Orleans, said.

If it wasn't for Medicaid expansion, 23-year-old Monika Calderon says, she has no idea how she could have covered expenses to remove a brain tumor.

"I really hope that they get to continue the expansion of Medicaid to keep giving second chances in life to so many people."

Johnson, of Bossier City, answered questions about the future of health care, particularly the fate of the Medicaid expansion, while home this weekend.

"We've got to be careful not to pull the rug out from anyone."

Johnson said that he recognizes the large number of people benefiting from Medicaid expansion and said any change should include a transition period,

"Where we can get the private insurance market involved again and enhanced so that everyone has more choices and more opportunity," Johnson added.

Johnson said that's what they've wanted all along: Free market principles in the health insurance market again.

He predicts it will happen - gradually.

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