Louisiana has the highest healthcare costs due to statewide high rates in premature deaths, diabetes and obesity. With the highest death rates from cancer in the nation, 160 Louisianans die from cancer every week (American Cancer Society)- 30% higher than the national average. The mortality rate for African American Louisiana residents is 30% higher than their white counterparts.
While Louisiana does not have a higher incidence of most cancers, we instead suffer from higher death rates (for instance, 24.5 Louisiana residents per 100,000 died each year from breast cancer, while the national average was 21.5 deaths per 100,000). Reasons for this staggering loss of human life include: late or incurable stage diagnosis of the disease and the long distances many must travel for treatment at a National Cancer Institute designated center.
In a welcome but too rare piece of good health news, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards expanded Medicaid coverage and enrolled 350,000+ additional residents in the health care program.
While Medicaid Expansion provides more individuals with comprehensive coverage, it did not add medical resources and providers to the state of Louisiana. Generally, there is shortage of quality primary care appointments available to Medicaid recipients, creating a bottleneck in services. Favorable health outcomes are dependent on the economic prosperity of the zipcode the patient lives in.