Senate and House health committees reject Medicaid expansion

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State lawmakers have refused to expand Louisiana’s Medicaid program so the working poor could get government-funded health insurance.

The Senate health care committee voted 5-3 Wednesday against a coverage expansion bill proposed by Bogalusa Sen. Ben Nevers, a Democrat. A few hours later, the House health care committee took a similar approach, voting 9-7 against expansion legislation by Rep. John Bel Edwards, an Amite Democrat.

Expansion supporters hoped Louisiana’s financial troubles and the offer of billions of federal health dollars could send more votes their way, after failed attempts in previous years. They say health coverage would be extended to nearly 300,000 people.

Opponents, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, say the increased coverage would be too costly for Louisiana and the federal government and would expand a broken government-run health system.

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