Skip to comments.John Bel Edwards calls Medicaid expansion 'among the highest priorities'
Posted on 11/23/2015 2:06:46 AM PST by abb
Governor-elect John Bel Edwards called expanding Medicaid "among the highest priorities" of his new administration, though he said Sunday (Nov. 22) he may not be able to approve an expanded program on Day One.
Edwards has said for months that he would accept the expansion of Medicaid, which requires executive approval, in the early days of his administration. But he said new questions have been raised about a funding mechanism the Legislature finished building in the spring.
There is "a difference of opinion" in interpretations of how the bill was drafted and passed, Edwards said. But he did not appear concerned that ultimately the state would have to find a way to raise money to pay for the federal matching funds required starting in 2017.
The Louisiana Hospital Association brokered a deal with lawmakers that would allow hospitals to pool their money to help pay for a percentage of the federal match. The rest of the money would be raised through fees on insurance premiums and other revenue sources that are not expected to result in tax increases.
"The expansion of health care coverage for working families is among the highest priorities. It's something I've been working on for three years, and I never once during this campaign shied away from that particular issue," Edwards said during a news conference with reporters in New Orleans.
The strongest signal yet of Edwards' commitment to Medicaid expansion is his appointment of state Sen. Ben Nevers to be his chief of staff. Nevers has been one of the foremost advocates of Medicaid expansion in the Legislature, at times offering tearful testimony as he pleaded with colleagues to expand the federal program to cover people who aren't paid enough to purchase their own insurance.
(Excerpt) Read more at nola.com ...
Edwards promises âinclusive, moderateâ Louisiana
Governor-elect names transition team, chief of staff
by tyler bridges| email@example.com
Nov. 22, 2015; 7:42 p.m.
So now what?
Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards began answering those questions Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after being elected governor, as he hired a chief of staff, named six co-chairs to oversee the transition and backed away from his campaign promise to expand Medicaid to the working poor on his first day in office.
In the coming days, Edwards, who takes office on Jan. 11, will have to hire dozens of top appointees, assemble a leadership team in the state House and Senate, formulate a plan for the $1 billion budget deficit he will inherit and begin to satisfy the many different constituencies that helped elect him â plus deal with dozens of other smaller issues.
âDecisions will be coming at him a mile a minute,â said Andy Kopplin, who helped oversee the transition from Gov. Mike Foster to Gov. Kathleen Blanco in 2003 and is now Mayor Mitch Landrieuâs chief of staff.
Edwards promised to carry out the transition â and govern â in a bipartisan way to move the state forward.
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âWe certainly have our plate full, and it is complicated by the fact that the state of Louisiana is not doing wellâ with the budget, Edwards told reporters at the Monteleone Hotel in New Orleans, where he stayed up late celebrating his 12-point victory. âWeâre up to the challenge.â
He said he expects to call a special session in February on the budget. A look at the calendar suggests it would occur after Feb. 9, which is Fat Tuesday.
Edwards also told reporters that he would like to see a new state superintendent of Education â John White, who was backed by Gov. Bobby Jindal, currently holds the job â and that he has had no discussions with Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne about naming him as commissioner of administration as has been widely speculated.
One of the first questions Edwards will face is when to carry out the Medicaid expansion. Edwards said that a legal uncertainty may force a delay, adding that he remained committed to carrying it out as one of his priorities.
âWe will expand Medicaid as soon as we can,â Edwards said, noting the legal question related to the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 75, which the Legislature approved in 2015 to pave the way for the expansion.
Edwards announced that outgoing state Sen. Ben Nevers will be his chief of staff and oversee the transition, and he named six transition co-chairs who represent different political constituencies that are important for Edwards.
They are: state Sen. Sharon Broome, D-Baton Rouge; Natchitoches attorney Taylor Townsend; Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand; Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo; businesswoman Laura Leach, of Lake Charles; and Richard Lipsey, a Baton Rouge businessman.
âHe has a pretty diverse group,â said Rolfe McCollister Jr., founder and publisher of Louisiana Business, which publishes the Baton Rouge Business Report, and the chairman of Jindalâs 2007 transition.
Edwards said the transition team will work out of the 12th floor of Kirby Smith Hall, which is named after a Confederate general. Jindal used the same space eight years ago when he was governor-elect.
Nevers, 69, served five years in the House and 12 years in the Senate. A populist Democrat from Bogalusa, he championed Medicaid expansion. Nevers founded and co-owns NECO, an electrical contracting company for industrial businesses now run by his son. It has up to 100 employees, he said.
Edwards, asked if Nevers has the managerial experience to be the chief of staff of a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, said Nevers had served as a mentor to him when Edwards entered the state House eight years ago.
âHe has my complete confidence,â Edwards said. âHe is a gifted and talented man.â
State Rep. Walt Leger III, D-New Orleans, who has been mentioned as a possible House speaker, said of Nevers: âEverybody likes him. It sets the right tone.â
Broome is an outgoing state senator who is running to be mayor of Baton Rouge.
Mayo, a Democrat, has been mayor of Monroe since 2001 and was an early supporter of Edwardsâ campaign for governor.
Lipsey, who serves on the Louisiana Board of Regents, owns Lipseyâs, a wholesale firearms distributor. During the primary, Lipsey supported Dardenne, who lost in the primary and subsequently endorsed Edwards. The governor-elect cited Lipsey as a supporter during the runoff when his opponent, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, claimed he was no friend of business.
Normand, who appeared in a TV ad denigrating Vitter during the runoff, is a Republican sheriff from Jefferson Parish.
Leach, with her husband, Buddy, has substantial oil and gas and property holdings, as well as a large beef herd. She served on the LSU Board of Supervisors for 18 years, during the terms of Govs. Edwin Edwards, Foster and Blanco. Jindal did not reappoint her.
Townsend is an attorney who served in the state House as a Democrat from 2000-2008.
McCollister said that while the campaign may have been frenetic, the pace would even accelerate during the transition.
âGoing from the campaign to the governor-elect transition is like going from drinking out of a garden hose to drinking from a fire hydrant,â McCollister said, forecasting 18-hour days, Monday through Sunday. âYou have to name the right team. That will make or break you.â
McCollister said he received 265 calls and emails in 2007 within a day of being named Jindalâs transition chief.
Besides meeting with the press, Edwards also held a series of private meetings Sunday that he declined to discuss with reporters. One of them took place with about 20 lobbyists and high-powered businessmen and other top officials, to discuss how to finance the transition and inauguration. It all has to be raised privately since the state budget contains no funds for them.
Those seen leaving the meeting included business lobbyist C.J. Blache; New Orleans developer Darryl Berger; and Stephen Perry, who is president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and managed Fosterâs transition in 1995.
âIâve seen governors come out of a campaign looking worn down,â Perry said. âHe looked totally energized.â
Follow Tyler Bridges on Twitter @TegBridges. For more coverage of the governorâs race, follow Louisiana Politics at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog/.
IIRC half of Medicaid expenses are the state’s responsibility. Where’s he gonna get the extra money? Oh yes, tax somebody.
Really, no tax increases?
A FEE is nothing but a targeted tax.
Hospitals pooling their money to pay for a percentage of the federal match simply means that hospitals are now going to be (more than they already are) tax collectors for the welfare state.
The government is always dishing out weasel words to try to conceal what they are doing when they are buying votes with other people's money.
When you take money from someone at the point of a gun (effectively) it is called stealing. Government calls it taxing, except when it isn’t a tax, but a fee, pooled funds, assessments, payments, fair-share, contributions and so on.
Wherever the extra money comes from (taxpayers or borrowing) there isn’t enough money to pay for the votes they hope it will create.
Does he just get to wave a wand and make it happen? Since Louisiana Legislative branch is in GOP hands, that might be more challenging for him
John Bel Edwards victory leaves questions about Legislature’s leadership
Julia O’Donoghue, NOLA.com
November 22, 2015 at 7:59 PM
Democrat John Bel Edwards’ resounding victory in the governor’s race leaves some questions about whether the Louisiana Legislature, which tends to follow the governor’s lead on matters of public policy, will assert more independence in 2016.
The Republican-controlled statehouse could demonstrate as early as this week whether it intends to push back against Edwards, who will be sworn into office Jan. 11.
Less the 24 hours after the election, lawmakers started discussing who will fill its top leadership positions — House Speaker and Senate President — and whether a Democrat might take one of those slots. The House Republican caucus will meet to discuss the House Speaker race, among other things, on Tuesday (Nov. 24), in Baton Rouge.
Just rolling on out that leftist agenda. Back to the bad old days in Louisiana.
Oops ! Your “Conservative” champion in Louisiana is showing his Socialist agenda.
Note to self => Resist the temptation to throw laptop against wall.
Please sign me up. BTW, that didn’t take long.
FYI, for those not residing in Louisiana, if you live north of I - 10, you don’t matter.
No, it didn’t. Now there will be stampede for the trough, since the Welfare Class has gotten to the head of the line.
Scott McKay’s take on the election.
Thanks for the link. Exciting stuff. I’ am so looking forward to the next 4 years. (that’s sarcasm for non residents)
LA voters soon to regret electing a democrat, as they themselves will end up paying more out of their pockets. There is no money tree out there, contrary to democrat rhetoric.
Vetter supporting Common Core?
Church leader group Together Louisiana renews push on legislators for Medicaid expansion
Kevin Litten | The Times-Picayune
November 23, 2015 at 5:20 PM
Together Louisiana members on Monday (Nov. 23) vowed to continue pushing for Medicaid expansion, saying they want to send a clear message to legislators that they expect the Legislature to work together on the issue.
Governor-elect John Bel Edwards supported Medicaid expansion throughout the campaign. But members of Together Louisiana, an association of church leaders from throughout the state, said they will continue to apply pressure to legislators about Medicaid expansion because they think it’s such an important issue.
In some other states where Medicaid was expanded, the governor later faced opposition from members of their respective legislatures, said Lee Wesley, the pastor of Community Bible Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. That’s why Together Louisiana is sending a new signal to legislators, he said.
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