The starkly contrasting ways in which Democrat- and Republican-led states have generally responded to the Affordable Care Act is creating two separate health care systems, according to a report released last week by the Obama administration. Democrat-leaning Kentucky, which has warmly embraced the ACA, and GOP-controlled Louisiana, which has given the law the cold shoulder, are representative. Both states have about 4.5 million residents. But although a larger percentage of Louisiana's residents are uninsured, about half as many signed up for private health care plans as did in Kentucky, 17,500 versus 33,000. The disparity is even greater when it comes to Medicaid expansion. In Kentucky, which accepted federal funding to expand its Medicaid program to those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, over 100,000 more residents have qualified for the program since the launch of Obamacare on Oct. 1. In Louisiana, which passed on the Medicaid expansion offer, the number of Medicaid-eligible residents has increased by less than 5,000. "In the short run, you're likely to see some fairly significant differences between the states going full-bore for the law and the states that want no part of it," said Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of social medicine and health policy and management at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. (POLITICO, STATE NET)
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