- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wants Louisiana residents to sign up for the Affordable Care Act by March 31.

The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/1bcYfZg) that Sebelius met with customers and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Friday.

Sebelius wanted to remind people to that they have eight weeks left before a March 31 deadline to get 2014 coverage on HealthCare.gov.

Sebelius also addressed a complication facing 242,000 of the state’s poorest, uninsured residents: They aren’t eligible.

Under the leadership of Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana has declined to expand Medicaid to those non-elderly adults whose incomes are below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, as the law allows.

Sebelius says more people in Louisiana would be eligible if Medicaid was extended.

“That means that Louisiana is losing $4.3 million in federal funds every day,” Sebelius said during the Friday event at Mahalia Jackson Elementary.

Jindal has said he objects to Medicaid expansion because he says it would turn more than 170,000 people from private insurance to government-run programs, inflating the rolls of those receiving government assistance.