healthcare costs

Sue Lincoln

Nearly half the $29.7-billion proposed state budget is recommended for spending by Louisiana’s Department of Health.

“Yes, it’s big, because we’re a poor state,” Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee told members of a House Appropriations sub-committee this week. “And when you talk about big, don’t lose sight that ‘big’ is federal.”


Despite  the administration's efforts to keep the lid on the simmering story of the state’s budget anguish through election season, some of the details are boiling over.

“Whoever ends up becoming the next governor’s going to have a mess to clean up,” says Steve Spires, policy analyst with the Louisiana Budget Project. He adds that healthcare is one of the biggest messes.

Medicare's release Wednesday of records of millions of payments made to the nation's doctors comes as the government is looking to find more cost-efficient ways to pay physicians, particularly specialists.

The federal government published data tracing the $77 billion that Medicare paid to physicians, drug-testing companies and other medical practitioners throughout 2012, and the services they were being reimbursed for.