Medicaid Expansion Hiring Effort Stalled

Date: March 01, 2016 Last Edit: March 02, 2016

Gov. Edward’s expedited schedule relies on new staffers to handle enrollment.

Medicaid Expansion Hiring Effort Stalled

Gov. John Bel Edwards may have signed Medicaid expansion into law on his first day in office, but his aggressive plan of implementation by July 1 hinges upon the need to hire nearly 250 more people to handle the enrollment of the thousands of people who are expected to be added to the Medicaid rolls.

While the hiring plan was supposed to be reviewed by the joint House and Senate budget committee in January, the item was removed from the agenda so that Gov. Edwards’ administration would have time to discuss the plan with committee members.

However, The Advertiser reports the committee is largely filled with legislators who have concerns about the governor’s Medicaid expansion plan to begin with, and there are certainly questions about the costs for these new state employees amid the state’s severe budget problems. The price tag for salaries, benefits, training and equipment for these new workers would be $10.3 million this budget year, with $7.3 million paid by the federal government and the remaining $3 million paid by healthcare providers, but the long-term costs and who would pay for them is unclear.

Rep. Cameron Henry, chairman of the House budget committee, told The Advertiser that the hiring discussion was part of a broader debate about whether Louisiana should be expanding its Medicaid program at all and whether there was consensus among lawmakers to do so.

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