After weeks of delays, Louisiana lawmakers agreed to extend managed Medicaid contracts worth $15.4 billion to five private health insurers.
Lawmakers voted to approve the contract extensions on Thursday after Louisiana House Republicans blocked them in three previous votes over concerns about the price tag.
Contracts for the five managed-care companies that coordinate services for 1.6 million Medicaid recipients will remain in place for another 23 months. The contracts were originally awarded in 2014, and were set to expire on Jan. 31.
The five insurers include Aetna Better Health of Louisiana; Amerigroup Louisiana; AmeriHealth Caritas of Louisiana; Louisiana Healthcare Connections and UnitedHealthcare of Louisiana.
"Today is a good day for the people of Louisiana, particularly for the 1.6 million Louisianans whose access to healthcare was in the balance leading up to today's vote in the Joint Budget Committee," Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement.
Louisiana expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act beginning in July 2016 following an executive order signed earlier that year by Edwards. More than 450,000 people have since enrolled in Medicaid under the expansion as of this month, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.