Health Centers Losing $16 Million Because of Jindal’s Refusal to Accept Medicaid Expansion Dollars
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana’s community health centers are benefiting from an additional $78 million in funding to expand and serve more patients through the Affordable Care Act, but repealing the health care reform law — as Louisiana Republicans would like to do — would endanger these important health care providers.
“Last year Louisiana’s community health centers served more than 250,000 patients, and they are poised to serve even more this year,” said state Rep. Regina Barrow. “The health centers serve some of our most vulnerable populations, including residents of rural communities, as well as people of color.”
Deano Thornton, former mayor of Winnfield and CEO of the Winn Community Health Center, noted their facility received a grant of $290,000 in November and will be expanding to a Grant Parish location. The Winn Community Health Center served more than 7,000 patients last year and has expanded from five employees in 2009 to 38 today.
The Capitol City Family Health Center in East Baton Rouge Parish is also expanding because of an additional $440,000 in funding through the Affordable Care Act, and they will be opening a new Plaquemine location, said Camille Turner, the center’s outreach and enrollment coordinator.
“Community health centers are an important part of Louisiana’s health care network, and they’ve already seen $78 million in new investments because of the Affordable Care Act,” said state Rep. Edward “Ted” James. “Many of our centers are actually expanding because of the health care law. We cannot go backward. We also will keep fighting to expand access to affordable health care with federal Medicaid dollars.”
In the 25 states that are opting out of the Medicaid expansion, their community health centers will miss out on a total of $555 million in additional funding next year. In Louisiana, our community health centers will lose about $16 million because of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s failure to expand Medicaid.
According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, about 58 percent of the Louisiana’s health center patients are African American, compared to 32 percent of the state as a whole. The state’s population is about 18 percent rural, but the health centers serve a population that is 54 percent rural.
Dr. Corey Hebert said, “African Americans have the highest mortality rate of any racial or ethnic group in several major disease categories, from stroke to infant mortality to heart disease. If we’re going to address the disparities in health care outcomes in America, we must expand access — and our community health centers are a great way of achieving this.”
Click here to learn more about Louisiana’s community health centers:
Click here to listen to audio of today’s conference call with Barrow, James, Thornton, Turner and Hebert: