BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration estimates the Democratic governor's planned Medicaid expansion will save the state $677 million in its first five years.

The savings would come, according to the state health department, from taking advantage of enhanced federal financing rates for health services.

The projections presented Monday to the Senate health committee contrast with estimates provided to lawmakers in previous years when Republican Bobby Jindal was governor. Jindal opposed Medicaid expansion.

Edwards' health secretary Rebekah Gee told senators the Jindal administration cost estimates were "inflated to be unrealistic."

The governor updated senators personally on the planned expansion, saying enrollment will begin on June 1.

Republicans in the state legislature have blocked expansion efforts in prior years. But on Monday, both GOP and Democratic senators appeared to embrace the idea.

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