May 8, 2013 7:26 PM by Akeam Ashford
State lawmakers are considering whether or not to take advantage of federal money offered in President Obama's Affordable Health Care Act(AHCA).
Senate Bill-125 would expand Medicaid coverage to as many as 400-thousand uninsured Louisianians. Currently, public and private hospitals are reimbursed for services provided to the uninsured; this will change under what's known as "obamacare," causing those eligible for Medicaid to become uninsured.
Senator Fred Mills R-22, says, "If medicaid isn't expanded for the uninsured, the new private-public partnership between Lafayette General and UMC may face federal funding challenges.
Joy Mullen's, suffers from mental illness, along with other health care problems that cause her to take twelve different prescription medications. "When we can afford it we get the medications, and when we can't, we do without," says Mullen.
Last year, Mullen's and her husband brought home just over $19,000. Mullen's says, "We're told we make too much for Medicaid and too little to pay for insurance with all the medications for the conditions I have."
In order to pay for her prescriptions, she has to decide between food or medicine. On average, Mullen's and her husband pay $150 for her medications alone.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the federal poverty level is $15,510 for a family of two. To qualify for Medicaid in Louisiana right now, the Mullen's would have to earn 25% of the poverty level ($15,510). The way it breaks down, the Mullen's would only be allowed to make $3,877 a year if they wanted qualify. Under SB 125, the percentage would go from 25% to 133%.
"I think senate bill 125 would make it easier for people like me who are just out of reach to get some medical help," says Mullen's. At 133%, the Mullen's could make a little over $20,000 to qualify. "It's not a matter of just wanting and needing the services, its a matter of the services being available," says Mullen's.
The federal government would pay for 100% of coverage through the end of 2016. This would gradually drop to 90% by 2020. 26 states, including some with republican governors, have agreed to the Medicaid expansion. Governor Jindal has long been against the move.
Today, Jindal's press secretery told us, the Governor isn't changing his mind. If the bill passes, the governor would most likely veto it. The legislature could reverse that decision with a majority 2/3 vote.
A link below allows you to determine your Medicaid eligibility according to the Department of Health and Human Services.