Too Many are Struggling to Afford Basic Needs in Louisiana

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.”
—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

As we celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recently, many working individuals and families have found themselves struggling to afford healthcare in Louisiana.  Furthermore, Louisiana’s healthcare system has seen the effects of Governor Bobby Jindal’s policymaking.  Most disturbing, is the Governor’s decision not to accept federal Affordable Care Act funding to expand Medicaid thus denying low income adults access to healthcare.

Loyola’s Jesuit Social Research Institute recently released a report, “Too Much for Too Many,” that recommends expanding Medicaid citing that many Louisiana families struggle to meet basic needs. Healthcare is reported as the single highest cost by far for individuals and families. More than 240,000 working Louisianans who today have no health insurance could be covered through Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion simply makes sense, morally and economically.

The Loyola report also cites the state’s low wages, high housing costs, expensive health care and hard-to-find child care as factors that make it difficult to enjoy economic security.

More than fifty years ago Dr. King fought for these issues. Yet today he would find that inequality and injustice in healthcare still exist. Furthermore, I believe Dr. King was correct then and it is correct today denying “healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.”

By Alma C. Stewart
Founder and President
Louisiana Center for Health Equity

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