Medicaid expansion is good for both workers and businesses

Prior to expanding Medicaid in Louisiana, there were nearly 30,000 uninsured restaurant workers and 15,500 uninsured construction workers who couldn't afford health insurance but can now receive coverage. These are just two of Louisiana's low-wage industries employing hundreds of thousands of workers who have not had health insurance. Expanding Medicaid to provide health insurance to these workers isn't just good news for them, it is good news for their employers and our economy.

Workers with health insurance can get the preventative care they need to take fewer sick days. They also are less likely to be sick on the job and spread disease to both coworkers and customers. Healthy workers are also more likely to be alert and responsive, meaning fewer on-the-job accidents and lower workers' compensation costs for employers. According to one Milken Institute report, the total economic loss caused by sick days and reduced productivity in Louisiana in 2003 was $17.4 billion. Medicaid expansion helps Louisiana prevent those sorts of losses.

For too long, Louisiana has struggled with workforce issues that have hampered economic development and dug into the bottom lines of many of our businesses. By expanding Medicaid, we are ensuring that all of our workers receive the health care they need to be on the job and work safely.