BATON ROUGE — Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards has set an ambitious timeline for a Medicaid expansion, saying he wants to have government-funded health insurance cards in thousands more people’s hands by July 1.

To make that happen, his new health care leader said Louisiana will have to hire nearly 250 new health department workers to handle the enrollment and find the dollars to pay them, in a state saddled with deep budget problems.

Incoming Health and Hospitals Secretary Rebekah Gee also said the new administration will have to work with health care providers to ensure they’re willing to see the patients who

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