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Gov. Bobby Jindal. (Associated Press)

Gov. Bobby Jindal. (Associated Press)

Jindal disputes savings estimate for expansion

Last Modified: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 5:53 PM

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal disagreed Tuesday with a nonpartisan financial analysis done for lawmakers that estimated the state could save more than $500 million over 10 years by expanding Louisiana's Medicaid program under the federal health law.

The analysis by the Legislative Fiscal Office came in advance of Wednesday's hearings in the House and Senate health care committees on bills that would enact the expansion and cover as many as 400,000 uninsured through Medicaid.

Louisiana would get an estimated $15 billion to $16 billion in federal Medicaid funding over a decade to cover the additional low-income residents. The federal government will cover the full costs of the Medicaid expansion from 2014 to 2016 and pick up most of the price tag after that, requiring states to pay up to 10 percent.

The fiscal office says the state would save money under the Medicaid expansion because the federal government would cover a greater portion of expenses for certain current Medicaid enrollees, the state would pay less for uninsured care and federal dollars would cover prisoner health care services that are currently paid by the state.

Jindal, an opponent of the expansion, said the fiscal office report was too conservative in its estimates. He said the analysis should have assumed the state would have to pay health care providers more for taking care of Medicaid patients because of the influx of people into the program.

He cites the high end of estimates in a study from his health department that says the expansion could cost the state $1.7 billion over a decade. But the same study also says Louisiana could save up to $368 million, without those provider rate increases.

About 200 supporters of the expansion rallied on the state capitol steps Tuesday.

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