BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — On his first full day in office, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is reversing course from his Republican predecessor and starting the process to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program.

Edwards signed the executive order Tuesday, ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to Baton Rouge, where he'll champion his federal health care overhaul that allows for the Medicaid expansion.

The governor says he wants to have government-funded health insurance cards in more people's hands by July 1. His administration estimates that 300,000 people will be added.

Louisiana would join 30 other states that have undertaken Medicaid expansions, including several states overseen by Republicans. But expansion efforts have been stymied in most Southern states amid GOP resistance.

It's unclear whether Louisiana's Republican-led Legislature will try to throw up roadblocks to slow the expansion.


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