Gov. Edwards touts Medicaid expansion savings, shares personal health scare story

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards held a press conference on the impact of the expansion of the Medicaid program in Louisiana.

Edwards touted a string of successes one year after he expanded the program immediately after taking office.

“That is the easiest big decision I will ever make as governor,” Edwards said.

Touting the medical benefits of the expansion, which allowed over 350,000 Louisiana residents to have access to potentially life-saving tests and procedures, Edwards said one of the available procedures hits particularly close to home for him.

“Your governor just turned 50,” he said. “Two weeks ago, I had my first colonoscopy. There were six polyps – all removed – three of which were pre-cancerous. Those types of treatments and evaluations shouldn’t just be available to the governor or to those who have means. They should be available to all the people of Louisiana.”

Aside from the personal impacts of Medicaid expansion that allowed thousands to have the same type of potentially life-saving screening Edwards just had, the monetary savings are also taking a sizable chunk out of the deficit he inherited from former governor Bobby Jindal.

“Medicaid expansion is also saving state general fund dollars here in Louisiana,” Edwards said. “In the first year alone, through expansion, we’re saving $184 million in the state general fund. That is almost 10 percent of that historic, unprecedented $2 billion budget deficit that I inherited.”

The press conference was interrupted when one of the featured speakers near the podium collapsed.

A woman who identified herself as Phyllis opened the press conference by expressing her thanks to the Governor and the Medicaid program in general for allowing her to receive the necessary treatment when she found out she had ovarian cancer.

Doctors immediately attended to Phyllis, who was ushered out of the room for further treatment.