BATON ROUGE, La. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana reminds state residents to complete the 2020 U.S. Census if they have not done so already because this information is critical to determine federal funding for many health and social service programs.
Louisianians have until Sept. 30 to give their answers to the Census, which can be completed online at census.gov or by phone at 1-844-330-2020.
“The federal government uses Census information to determine how much funding states get for many important services, including healthcare programs,” said Blue Cross Healthcare Economist Mike Bertaut. “It’s important for everyone to complete the Census, which only takes a few minutes, so we are giving D.C. a better picture of what Louisiana needs.”
It has been 10 years since the last U.S. Census was taken, and a lot can change in a decade, Bertaut added.
“Congress only has 435 representatives in the U.S. House no matter how big America gets in terms of population, so each state’s allocation of Congressmen is determined by the Census. That number stays the same for an entire decade. We had seven congressmen prior to the 2010 Census, and now we only have six. This shows how census data directly affect how Washington treats Louisiana,” Bertaut said.
Census data is used for many other things, Bertaut added. “For example, knowing how many people are in a particular area and what services they need gives the federal government insight into which hospitals need funding, whether more people are on government healthcare – Medicare and Medicaid – or private insurance, and what transportation access looks like. All of those things make a big difference when determining federal funding allocations,” Bertaut said. “In a typical year, Louisiana gets almost three dollars in federal funding for every dollar we pay in federal taxes, so it is critical that Washington understands what our state’s needs are.”
Per federal reporting, Louisiana’s 2020 Census response rate is well below the national average thus far, and Blue Cross encourages more Louisianians to send in their answers by the end of the month.
Update: A late night ruling on Sept. 24 in U.S. District Court has ordered the federal government to extend counting for the 2020 U.S. Census for one more month, until Oct. 31. However, experts expect the ruling to be appealed. Blue Cross urges Louisianians to complete the census by the original Sept. 30 deadline. Bertaut explains why this is important in this week’s Straight Talk blog.About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media.