As the Louisiana legislature ponders ways to resolve the state’s “fiscal cliff,” policy-makers should remember the massive costs associated with the state’s embrace of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Enrollment in this expansion to the able bodied (i.e., working-age adults without dependent children) has exploded, raising Medicaid expenses. Moreover, the expansion discourages work, and disadvantages the most vulnerable, including individuals with disabilities, compared to able-bodied Medicaid recipients.
The Pelican Institute’s new paper outlines these policy problems, and offers solutions to them. First, lawmakers should freeze enrollment in the expansion, allowing current beneficiaries to continue in Medicaid so long as they remain eligible, while providing a path to employment, and employer-based health coverage. In addition, Louisiana should take advantage of new flexibility from Washington to submit a comprehensive waiver request, which would allow the state to modernize and improve its Medicaid program. These important changes would modernize Medicaid for the 21st century, allowing the program to serve the populations for which it was originally designed.