Gov. Edwards rejects healthcare proposal co-authored by Sen. Cassidy

Halen Doughty

Governor John Bel Edwards rejected the federal healthcare proposal co-authored by Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy. The bill seeks to replace the Affordable Care Act and give states more authority to operate their own healthcare systems.

According to Cassidy, the measure would replace federal money currently being spent on the Medicaid Expansion, tax credits for purchasing healthcare, and basic health plan dollars. It would also give states flexibility to establish state-run healthcare systems that lower premiums and expand coverage.

"This amendment gives that flexibility to states while protecting patients and the federal taxpayer," Cassidy said.

The proposal takes the decision away from Washington and gives states latitude over how the dollars are used to take care of the unique needs of the patients in each state. It also repeals the individual and employer mandates set forth under the ACA and protects patients with pre-existing conditions.

But Edwards has concerns about Medicaid Expansion, which would end in 2020 under the proposal. The governor says more than 430,000 working poor people in Louisiana now have health insurance because of the expansion, many for the first time in their lives.

"Louisiana's uninsured rate has dropped to nearly 10 percent. Undoing this progress would negatively impact our citizens and our economy," Edwards said.

Edwards is working with other governors to promote a solution that makes health insurance more stable and affordable. He notes this kind of compromise cannot be reached overnight. He said he is willing to work with Cassidy to find a bipartisan solution that resolves the nation's healthcare problems.

"Congress should take the time to get this process and policy right because it is the American people's lives, well-being, and tax dollars that hang in the balance," Edwards said.

The governor sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to reject Cassidy's proposal.

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