BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards marked the third anniversary of Louisiana's Medicaid expansion program with a new study showing people eligible for the coverage are seeing doctors more and using emergency rooms less.

The Democratic governor expanded Medicaid in July 2016.

Nearly 500,000 people are enrolled in the Medicaid expansion, and Edwards touts the coverage as he campaigns for a second term in office. He spent Wednesday morning at St. Bernard Parish Hospital crediting expansion with helping rural hospitals and improving health care for state residents.

Republican critics say expansion has grown Louisiana's Medicaid program to unsustainable levels.

The Pelican Institute for Public Policy, a conservative think tank, says its analysis shows thousands of people have dropped private health insurance to enroll in government-financed Medicaid coverage instead, driving up taxpayer costs.