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Health care subsidies will reach deeply into Louisiana's middle class


Families USA, the Washington-based health care consumer advocacy group, says more than 353,000 Louisianans will be eligible for financial assistance to purchase premiums through the new health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. What’s more, according to executive director Ron Pollack, nearly 2 million Louisianans with pre-existing conditions won’t be denied coverage or charged higher premiums due to their health ailments.

"Things like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, or worse, a history of cancer -- those people will receive new protections," Pollack said, during a Thursday conference call with reporters.

Analysis from Families USA finds that the state is already feeling the impact of the Affordable Care Act. Pollack said about 81,000 residents have received rebates totaling almost $2.4 million from insurance companies that in 2012 failed to dedicate enough of their premium dollars toward health care delivery.

Governor Bobby Jindal has been a strong critic of the Affordable Care Act and a backer of limited government. Pollack said for the governor to let the federal government set up the exchange in Louisiana doesn’t follow his politics.

“There’s a high irony here," Pollack said. "The governor, who seems to be very much focused on being an outspoken opponent of Obamacare, but his opposition has led to a result that typically he doesn’t like.”

On Monday, Louisiana and East Texas agencies discuss their federal navigator grants that will assist people one-on-one with signing up for private insurance and understanding the tax credits. The so-called navigators will start assisting people with their options beginning Oct. 1 when the first enrollment period begins. Coverage begins Jan. 1, 2014.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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