In the first month of open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), only 387 Louisianans completed the process and selected a health care plan, according to figures released this afternoon by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
. A little over 7,700 people completed the online application at HealthCare.gov but have not selected a health plan.
Louisiana is one of 36 states which used the federal website rather than set up a program of state health exchanges. In those 36 states, 26,794 people have now set up plans. The number of total plan selections among people in all 50 states is 106,185.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been one of the most vociferous critics of Obamacare, has refused to accept the federal health exchanges for Louisiana, surrendering Medicaid funds in the process. After President Barack Obama spoke at the Port of New Orleans Nov. 8, Jindal's office released a statement saying the governor would not let Obama "bully Louisiana" into accepting the program:
We have rejected Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in Louisiana because it would cost Louisiana taxpayers up to $1.7 billion over the next ten years and move nearly 250,000 Louisianians from private coverage to Medicaid. The disastrous rollout of Obamacare is a case in point that we don’t need top-down, one-size-fits-all federal mandates, and instead should continue to focus on health care solutions that make sense for Louisiana. Obamacare needs to be repealed. The dysfunction of the website and the President’s broken promises on being able to keep your health plan are just the tip of the iceberg in regards to the problems with this law.
Jindal and Louisiana's Congressional Republicans have hit the president hard on the issue — along with Sen. Mary Landrieu, who voted for and has continued to express support for the Affordable Care Act. A series of ads from the poltical advocacy group Americans For Prosperity has In recent weeks run ads targeting Landrieu for her support.
Last week, Landrieu introduced the "Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act," which would, among other things, grandfather in some health plans set to expire under the new Obamacare guidelines. Several other prominent Democrats, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., have signed on to cosponsor Landrieu's proposed legislation.