LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The non-profit organization "A Community Voice" rallied throughout the state Wednesday in an effort to "break barriers" and spread the word on Medicaid expansion in hopes of having the topic land on this year's ballot.
President and Lake Charles resident Lanny Roy says ever since Gov. Bobby Jindal opposed Medicaid expansion in 2012, his organization has been fighting for a change.
"It'll take all of us standing in solidarity to bring about changes," said Roy. "Until we bring up some positive changes, we ain't going nowhere, we're going backwards."
Roy suffers from neuropathy and says he can't afford proper health insurance. He says the privatization of charity hospitals made it difficult to receive proper treatment. He says that as president of "A Community Voice", his job is to do just that: to give a voice to those just like him.
"Regardless of Obamacare and all these other insurances, some people will NOT be able to afford 'affordable healthcare' because of their income," he said. "The elderly, people with disabilities, people that have been in the service that don't have that kind of money to buy that kind of insurance. What's going to happen?"
Meanwhile, "A Community Voice" held a rally in New Orleans in front of an abandoned city-owned mental health center to emphasize the need for Medicaid expansion and the state's incarceration of prisoners with mental illnesses.
"This would all be eliminated if Louisiana had Medicaid expansion," said Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, who was in attendance. "We need this for our poor, and our middle class, mentally ill residents, because they should never be placed in jail just because they have health issues."
Though the governor won't be coming back next year, Roy says he will continue fighting for Medicaid expansion with lawmakers until he sees a change.
"We had a great turnout in 2012, and we've been fighting ever since," he said. "We're going to continue fighting the fight to make sure we get the system back in place."
"A Community Voice" executive director Beth Butler says the organization will continue hosting community meetings in the New Orleans area.
The next community meeting set for Lake Charles is scheduled for the fall.