Governor John Bel Edwards has sent a letter to congressional leaders urging the protection of Medicaid expansion. The governor’s communications director Richard Carbo says as the debate is underway in the nation’s capital to repeal and replace Obamacare, Edwards is standing behind the program he signed into law on his first day in office.

“More than 405,000 working Louisianans have gained coverage under the Medicaid expansion and we’ve saving nearly $200 million in this year’s budget.”

Carbo says with the money generated from the expansion, the state is able to avoid major cuts to TOPS, K-12 education and partner hospitals. He says their biggest concern with the proposed health care legislation is that thousands of Louisiana residents who were recently insured though Medicaid will lose that coverage.

“5,700 patients have been screened for breast cancer and 74 of those found out they actually head breast cancer. 62,000 people have received preventative care treatments, a lot of these people have never had access to healthcare.”

In the letter, Edwards acknowledged the expansion is not perfect but significant changes can be made without harming the people who have been positively affected by their new healthcare. Carbo says in addition to saving lives, Medicaid expansion has been good for our economy and budget.

“The economic impact will just trickle down to the jobs that we’ve created, healthcare costs. It’s having a very big impact on the state and it’s important for the congressional leaders to hear that.”