The host introduced the session by pointing out that young adults and racial/ethnic minorities have one of the highest rates of uninsured individuals. Some young people believe that they do not need health insurance; others are simply unaware of the options they have. In Louisiana, 240,000 people fall into what has been called the Jindal gap. Mrs. Steward, a registered nurse and founder of LCHC, then spoke. She has worked in healthcare for a long time and seen the effects of not having health insurance, both at work and in her own family. She emphasized that access to quality healthcare is crucial to the overall health of the population and the economy of the state. Furthermore, quality healthcare save individual lives and prevent people from dying prematurely.
One of the other participants was Jolan Jolivette, a student at University of Louisiana in Lafayette. He said that they had tried to make students sign up for Obamacare earlier this year. The sad part was that students wanted to get covered but couldn't. Students thought they could be covered by Medicaid, but it turned out that they fell into the Jindal gap. It was hard for him to tell people, “there's no coverage for you.” He argued that there's one man, Gov. Jindal, who's saying that the 16 billion dollars that are being given to us should not be spent on helping people who are unable to get health insurance. People's lives are at stake because of Jindal, he said. He concluded by saying that he's glad that the people of Louisiana now has the chance to put their voices out there and make the decision.
Candace Newell, a student at Southern University wanted to kill the myth that those who try to get Medicaid are not willing to or able to work. She tried to apply for health care, but she was unable to get coverage. People trying to get Medicaid are people who need and want health insurance but cannot afford it.
Anthony Stewart, a student at Southern University, asserted that it's not just a Jindal gap; it's a larger problem within his administration. If the constitutional amendment allowing the people to decide does not go through, the Medicaid expansion will be killed. Steward said there are two truths about Jindal: he wants us to die young, and he wants us to die dumb.
The bill in question is SB 96, authored by Sen. Ben Nevers (D-Bogalusa). It's essentially an amendment to the Louisiana constitution that puts the decision on whether or not to accept the Medicaid expansion on the ballot in the upcoming election. The goal of the hangout was to inform the people of Louisiana what's going on in their own backyard. The bill is up for the vote today, April 23.
Link to the hangout video.