Gov. Bobby Jindal has remained steadfast thus far in his opposition to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act saying it’s too expensive and that Medicaid is an outdated, inflexible program.
Not expanding Medicaid it will have a direct effect on low-to-moderate income New Orleanians.
The Primary Care Access Stabilization Grant was set up post-Katrina to help cover those people just outside of the Medicaid threshold after the storm destroyed New Orleans Charity Hospital. Initially federally funded, the program continued in 2007 as a special Medicaid waiver known as the Greater New Orleans Community Health Connection.
That program expires Dec. 31of this year.
Lindsay Ordower, Executive Director of 504 HealthNet – a coalition of primary care and mental health clinics in the New Orleans area – said 18 healthcare entities partake in program and about 58,000 people are currently enrolled. She says the program is well on its way to hitting the 65,000 enrollee cap and if Medicaid isn’t expanded at the beginning of 2014, all of them will lose coverage.
"And that’s basic coverage for primary and mental healthcare," said Ordower. "We’re also concerned about how many clinics are going to have to close their doors as they won’t be reimbursed for seeing these patients anymore when they lose their coverage."
Ordower said her organization has already met with Gov. Jindal's office and that they’re next step is to meet with the state Department of Health and Hospitals directly.
The Times-Picayune reported previously that in a statement on the issue, DHH Secretary Bruce Greenstein emphasized the waiver was always intended to be temporary, and that “healthcare providers who treat waiver recipients should use the time-limited expansion to develop systems that allow them to be more competitive in the marketplace.”