Lawmakers Weigh Medicaid Options

May 21, 2013

A House bill that aims to secure state health care spending passed out of the Senate Finance committee yesterday.

The measure would create the "Hospital Stabilization Fund," which would utilize some hospital profits to draw down more federal dollars to help with uninsured patients.

Rep. Walt Leger presented the bill, sponsored by Speaker Chuck Kleckley.

"It has benefits both for those providers," Leger said, "but also has benefits for businesses and individuals who are paying health insurance premiums because more money in the system allows for the recoupment of those funds through enhanced reimbursement rates as opposed to increasing the cost to others that carry insurance."

The bill will head to the Senate floor next.

Though this vote acknowledged that the health care system in Louisiana is in a bit of trouble, lawmakers again turned down a plan to accept the federal Medicaid Expansion, an optional program that’s a part of the Affordable Care Act.

The Expansion would insure those that make up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line under Medicaid.

Leger’s bill expands the kind of Medicaid that goes directly to hospitals for the care of the uninsured – not patient payments, like the federal program would.

Policy Committee of the House Republican Delegation announced yesterday it would support a measure that would effectively nullify the ACA in Louisiana.

According to the bill’s author Rep. Paul Hollis, it would "affirm the right of individuals and health care providers to make their own decisions about their participation in health plans without penalty or coercion by the Federal Government."

Of course, the bill disregards the article of the US Constitution, which states that federal laws overrule state laws.

The bill comes up on the House floor this afternoon.