Governor Edwards says it’s premature to be ‘overly concerned’ about health care under Trump

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Gov. John Bel Edwards says he's concerned about how President-elect Donald Trump will handle the Affordable Care Act, but he's "not overly concerned," because he says Mr. Trump appears to be "more flexible" than he did during the presidential campaign, citing his Sunday night appearance on "60 Minutes."

At an Entergy event in New Orleans Monday afternoon,  Edwards told WGNO's Stephanie Oswald that Medicaid expansion is critical, and it's working -- not only in Louisiana, but also in dozens of other states.

"So it's gonna be very difficult I think to repeal the Affordable Care Act, including the Medicaid expansion, without providing a suitable substitute," said Edwards.

"We're going to work with the administration, obviously, because our job is to make sure we're taking care of the people of Louisiana as best we can -- that's why we expanded Medicaid in the first place," he continued.

The governor, who signed an executive order to expand Medicaid in Louisiana on his first full day in office (January 12, 2016), says that about 350,000 people in Louisiana have health care insurance thanks to this effort, many for the first time.

The governor was in New Orleans to recognize Entergy for launching a five-year, $5 million initiative aimed at creating jobs and job training programs.

The first $1 million was awarded today to six programs that Entergy leaders say have "proven track records" and will strengthen the state's economy.

Monday's grants went to Louisiana Economic Development to fund manufacturing certifications ($500,000); Operation Spark for its Software Design and Engineering Immersion Course ($169,000); the Louisiana Construction Education Foundation ($100,000); Delgado Community College ($100,000); the Louisiana chapter of Jobs for America's Graduates ($75,000) and the Orleans Re-Entry Court ($75,000).

"Education is the key to economic success," says Phillip May, President/CEO of Entergy Louisiana and Charles Rice, President/CEO of Entergy New Orleans.

Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development Don Pierson addressed the crowd, calling it "a room full of partners" and Governor Edwards called the initiative "an investment in success" that will improve the quality of life for Louisiana residents.