Louisiana officials will seek federal approval of a plan to expand access to health insurance for some of the state's more than 800,000 uninsured residents, despite the proposal receiving some criticism from national health experts.
Under the state's plan, public subsidies would be provided to help the working poor buy insurance and to encourage employers to offer coverage. Critics said such plans have not had good results in other states, and national healthcare experts had expressed reservations about Louisiana's plan.
State Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Fred Cerise said a lot of work had been done in preparation of the filing for the special permission required to initiate the programs. He said officials decided to seek approval even if parts of the plan were never started.
Cerise said last week that the health department would submit a draft plan to the CMS in the next couple of weeks so it can revamp the proposal, if necessary, before formally filing the application.
About one in five of Louisiana's 4.5 million residents has no health and medical coverage.
The state's proposed insurance plan has four parts. The costliest and most sweeping portion involves creating a $125 million basic health insurance program for about 50,000 low-income working adults. While 70% of that would come from federal funds, Louisiana still would have to find about $36 million in state dollars to pay for it each year.
The other three parts of the proposal would serve about 4,600 people. Those limited proposals would require $362,000 in state funds to draw down another $1.2 million in federal money.