Arata leaves, Obama comes, Jon Bel might go and Edwards' Medicaid Expansion executive order
  // Friday, 08 January 2016 14:10 // News//
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One of Mitch Landrieu’s top aides ever since he first ran for Lt. Governor has left the fold.
Today, Deputy Mayor of External Affairs Emily Arata announced that after over ten years of service to the City and the State, she will leave her post on Jan. 15, 2016, to serve as the Director of Economic Development Initiatives and Community Relations for the Ochsner Health System.

Emily Sneed Arata is the younger sister of former Jefferson Parish councilwoman Jennifer Sneed.

“For over ten years, Emily has been a trusted advisor," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “My Administration has accomplished big things that would not have been possible without the strong communications and governmental affairs strategies that Emily and her team put together. During hurricanes and emergency situations, Emily led our efforts to communicate with the public with frequent and substantive media briefings. As we prepare to break ground at the new airport, Emily was instrumental in working with the airport leadership on my behalf to make this transformational project happen. I am passionate about improving the way our City responds to violence against women and children, so I tapped Emily to work closely with law enforcement and advocates to bring about lasting reforms. She served the City well, and she will be sorely missed.”

Mrs. Arata served as the Campaign Manager for Mitch Landrieu’s successful campaigns for Lieutenant Governor and later for Mayor, receiving the prestigious national Pollie award as 2010 best local campaign in the country. As Deputy Mayor of External Affairs, Mrs. Arata was a member of the Mayor's executive leadership team and oversaw the offices of Intergovernmental Affairs and Communications. As the Mayor’s liaison to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), Mrs. Arata worked closely with the MSY team as the airport prepared for an ambitious expansion to the new North Terminal. She served as the Mayor’s designee on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Sexual Violence Response and Chaired the Mayor’s working group to implement new Domestic Violence policies. For this work, the New Orleans Family Justice Center honored Mrs. Arata with a 2015 Champion Award.

One of the most virulent opponents of the Affordable Care Act has denounced incoming Jon Bel Edwards’ recent announcement that he will issue an executive order to expand Medicaid under President Obama's health care law immediately after taking office this coming week. According to his statement, it will occur “within 24 hours of being sworn in.”
“We are deeply disappointed by Governor-elect Edwards’ announcement that he will immediately issue an executive order to expandMedicaid under Obamacare after taking office,” said Phillip Joffrion, AFP Louisiana State Director. “Louisianans oppose Obamacare and have rejected its Medicaid expansion in previous years for good reason. States that have expanded Medicaid are facing massive cost overruns due to an underestimation of the burden of the program during the budgeting process. We have seen this occur in Arkansas, Kentucky, and several other states across the country, so what makes us think Louisiana will be any different? These overruns have not been minimal. A study from the Foundation for Government Accountability found that Medicaid expansions in other states have exceeded their projected maximum enrollment by 73%. We are dealing with a $1.9 billion budget deficit and this is simply not a plan we can afford. The Governor-elect should be focused on addressing our state’s fiscal problems, not adding to them by expanding Obamacare.”
Joffrion also noted that the new administration has stated it would require 248 new employees to handle the sizable expansion. “Louisiana taxpayers would be on the hook for fifty percent of Medicaid expansion's administrative costs. We should not be putting more government employees on the payroll to manage a broken system. This kind of fiscal irresponsibility will only hurt us in the long run."

Jon Bel Edwards, who seemed to stay away from President Obama the last time the President visited New Louisiana might have different plans this time around.
According to Greg Hilburn of the Monroe News Star:
"It's a possibility," said Richard Carbo, Edwards' communications director. "It's something we're in contact with the White House about, but nothing has been confirmed."

Photo: Emily Arata, from NOLA.com

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