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Louisiana has removed 275,000 people from Medicaid over six months

Louisiana has dropped 275,000 people from its Medicaid program over the last seven months. (Canva image)
Louisiana has dropped 275,000 people from its Medicaid program over the last seven months. (Canva image)

Louisiana took 275,000 people off Medicaid from the end of June through December, as it complies with renewed federal standards for the government-backed health insurance program. 

Almost a quarter of the people dropped, 66,500, are children. 

The state has had a lot of “churn” in its Medicaid program as it takes part in the nationwide Medicaid disenrollment process. Initially, Louisiana removed 362,000 from the Medicaid rolls, but 87,000 have already been allowed to rejoin. Despite being initially cut from the program, they still meet the requirements for Medicaid. Medicaid is a publicly-funded health insurance for low-income families and people with disabilities. Members must meet income requirements, which shift depending on their age and health status, to join. It’s funded through a mix of federal and state money. For three years during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government prevented states from removing individuals from Medicaid, even if they no longer qualified. This caused Medicaid rolls in many states to swell. In Louisiana alone, an additional 450,000 people were brought into the program. 

Those pandemic protections ended in April, leading to the sudden massive drop in enrollment. Louisiana started culling it rolls on a monthly basis starting at the end of June and has about five months left in its year-long review process. 

Last year, the Louisiana Department of Health estimated only 222,400 people would be dropped from Medicaid during the year review, but the state has already surpassed that estimate and still has six more months of culling to go.Former Gov. John Bel Edwards balked when legislators tried to reduce the state health budget by $100 million in 2023, but Republicans say that cut now looks justified given the Medicaid reductions so far.

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