Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued the following statement on the ruling by the Texas Supreme Court that could impact hundreds of thousands of Louisianans with pre-existing health conditions. 

“Nearly 850,000 Louisianans with a pre-existing health condition face uncertainty and could lose their health insurance as a result of a lawsuit that Attorney General Jeff Landry supported. Even more troubling is that 480,000 working Louisianans on Medicaid expansion could lose their health insurance over this decision. Being diagnosed with breast cancer or diabetes should not automatically mean that you are denied coverage to protect an insurance company's profits, and if you put in a full day’s work, you should not be priced out of coverage. This was a short-sighted lawsuit, to say the least. I intend to vigorously pursue legislation to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions from losing their health insurance and ensuring the working people of our state aren’t penalized because of this decision.”

Just months ago, Attorney General Jeff Landry unilaterally decided to enter the state of Louisiana into a lawsuit that eliminates health care protections for people with pre-existing conditions.  The attorney general appeared on CNN to discuss his effort. During the interview, he made clear that prior to joining the lawsuit, he did not have a plan in place to ensure insurance companies do not deny coverage for the 849,000 people in Louisiana who could lose health care because they have a pre-existing condition.

Pressed by a reporter about his plans for the nearly 850,000 people in Louisiana who would lose health care if the court strikes down the pre-existing condition provision, he had no answer, indicating the attorney general had not spoken to anyone for a “Plan B” prior to filing the lawsuit. The interview is available here.

BACKGROUND:

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, approximately 849,000 in Louisiana have a pre-existing condition that could allow an insurance company to deny them health coverage.

A poll conducted by the UNO Survey Research Center in 2014 found that 76 percent of the people of Louisiana supported “requiring health insurance companies to cover anyone, even if they have a pre-existing medical condition.”

NOLA.com|Times Picayune: “The crux of Paxton's and Landry's argument is that Congress has repealed the "individual mandate" that required people to carry health insurance or pay a tax penalty, which means that the whole law should be declared unconstitutional. Paxton and Landry argue that the mandate for health insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions cannot work if the individual mandate to carry health insurance will no longer be in place in 2019.  

“…But even if he doesn't succeed at getting Obamacare thrown out, Paxton has asked the court to still strike down the requirement for insurance companies to cover pre-existing medical conditions in the 20 states participating in the lawsuit, including Louisiana.

“…The Texas Attorney General's office argued both in written briefs and court Wednesday that states -- not the federal government -- should get to decide whether health insurance companies are forced to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions.” [NOLA.com|Times Picayune, 9/7/2018]