Call of the Day: Help Prevent Louisiana's Next Budget Crisis

Okay, so we're cheating a little for today's state-wide call. I still want you to call your national representatives. But it's on a issue of great importance on a local level: the state budget.

Last week, our state legislature passed (FINALLY) a budget through fiscal year 2018. In particular, the new budget adds $368 million in federal funds to the state's health department, financing that had been available previously but which lawmakers had refused to accept.

Why? Because it was available via the Medicaid expansion. Ultimately, the new budget helps save more than $180 million over five years, all by better using the federal funds match.  Republican lawmakers groused, but when it came to vote, they accepted these funds without objection.

"Think of how much harder this budget would have been without the Medicaid expansion," said John Bel Edwards.

The Medicaid expansion has helped hundreds of thousands of Louisianans obtain insurance, and without it, some 400,000 people stand to lose coverage. We need it, not just to insure our citizens but also to help ease our financial burden. And in fact, earlier this week, Governor Bel Edwards joined several other state governors who had adopted the Medicaid expansion in their states to sign a bipartisan letter urging the Senate to reject TrumpCare.

Let's remind our federal Republican lawmakers that they are supposed to be the party that favors state control versus federal control – and the state of Louisiana wants and needs the Medicaid expansion to continue. 

WHO TO CALL

Senator Cassidy and Sen. Kennedy

Sen. Bill Cassidy - DC OFFICE: (202) 224-5824 and METAIRIE OFFICE: (504) 838-0130

Sen. John Kennedy:  DC OFFICE: (202) 224-4623 and MONROE OFFICE (318) 361-1489

Reminders: Identify where you're calling from (town and zip code is fine) so they know you're an actual constituent. Be concise - the office will get through more calls that way. Be polite and don't argue with the staffer - they don't set policy.  If you get a voicemail, then leave a message. And if you get a busy signal -- call back later!

Sample script

Hi, my name is [Name] from New Orleans, zip code 70118 [or wherever you're from]. I don't need a response.

I'm calling because I know the Senate is planning on adopting most of the key measures from the American Health Care Act, and I'm extremely concerned that they'll end the Medicaid expansion. The Medicaid expansion has been critical for Louisiana, not just in terms of insuring our most vulnerable citizens, but also in establishing our most recent state budget. We have enough budget problems as is without shifting additional financial burden back onto our state.

I want the Senator to vote no on any plan that would end the Medicaid expansion. I also want him to push for an open and transparent legislative process where issues like this can be exposed and fixed before the bill is passed.

Thank you for your time, and your hard work answering the phones. Stay safe out there.

PS: Bonus call: Call the governor and thank him for signing the letter!

(225) 342-0991 or (844)860-1413

This call is courtesy of Metairie Indivisible.