Nearly $52 million in state cuts to Medicaid services go into effect Friday, Feb. 1. The reductions are part of the Dept. of Health and Hospitals’ response to a mid-year shortfall in Louisiana’s general fund.
The cuts include the elimination of dental benefits for pregnant women and a healthy parenting program for first-time mothers who qualify for Medicaid. Additionally, the rate paid to hospitals and physicians for non-primary care services through Medicaid will be dropped by 1 percent.
When the federal government reduced its funding of Medicaid in Louisiana, the LSU charity hospital system took the brunt of the $152 million in cuts. LSU’s medical students, for whom the charity hospitals are a training ground, have been caught in the tumult.
The federal Affordable Care Act requires states to have health insurance exchanges. This Friday, Nov.16, is the deadline for states to tell the government whether they will set up exchanges on their own or let the federal government do it for them.
Gov. Bobby Jindal confirmed to the Huffington Post on Tuesday that Louisiana would not be implementing its own exchange and a rejection letter will be sent to the federal government on Friday.
David Hood is an adviser for the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana on healthcare issues. He thinks the insurance exchanges will ultimately save the state and taxpayers money.
WRKF's Ashley Westerman asked him how that's possible when they are expected to cost millions of dollars annually to run.
Louisiana's worst year for West Nile virus in a decade continues into the fall season. On Friday the state Department of Health and Hospitals reported 12 new West Nile virus cases, and two more West Nile-related deaths.
Incumbent Congressman Bill Cassidy and his two long-shot opponents all want a rewrite of the healthcare law that was passed under President Obama. The candidates met at a debate Monday at the Baton Rouge Press Club.
When the Deepwater Horizon exploded two years ago, spilling an unprecedented amount of oil into the Gulf, BP hired about 48,000 workers to clean up. Some of those workers have since reported health problems. There's just one clinic in Louisiana now dedicated to treating them. As WRKF's Tegan Wendland reports, the clinic has a rather controversial backer.