Louisiana’s new Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, on Tuesday signed an executive order to expand Medicaid in the state under ObamaCare.
Louisiana’s move makes it the 31st state to expand eligibility for the program. The expanded eligibility is for incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty level, or about $33,000 for a family of four.
Louisiana’s move comes as ObamaCare supporters are hoping that more states in the south will come around to Medicaid expansion. Alabama’s Republican governor, Robert Bentley, for example, has said he is “looking” at the possibility.
President Obama will be touting Louisiana’s move on Medicaid expansion, which the White House says will provide coverage to 193,000 uninsured people, when he visits the state on Thursday as part of his post-State of the Union travel.
"We want to bring our federal tax dollars back home to help us ensure healthier outcomes for our people,” Edwards said on Tuesday. He has set a goal of July 1 for the expansion to kick in.
Expansion supporters argue that states are missing out on federal dollars by rejecting expansion.
Opponents often cite cost, noting that states eventually will have to pick up 10 percent of expenses, as well as ideological objections to expanding government-run healthcare.