Wallis Watkins

Budget negotiations have hit another wall in the special session. This time in the House Health and Welfare committee. Members took up several bills Thursday that would reform the state’s Medicaid program. It's one of the demands from leaders in the House who say the state must find ways to spend less money. 

Split Decision: Managed-Care Contracts, Round Two

Nov 6, 2017

“We are sitting here with a fourth of the state budget in front of us, and there is nothing we can do to adjust that for the next two years? I find that breathtakingly hard to comprehend,” House Appropriations chair Cameron Henry said, as he led the blockade of contract extensions for managed-care companies coordinating the state’s Medicaid services.

Managing Medicaid Contracts

Nov 3, 2017
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Louisiana’s Joint Budget Committee meets today to vote on two-year contract extensions for the state’s Medicaid-managed care organizations.

“Why two years? Because we have made dramatic changes to these contracts, not just tweaks,” Health Secretary Rebekah Gee explained when lawmakers began debating the extensions two weeks ago.

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With Medicaid one of the largest chunks of state budget spending, it’s no surprise some are honed in on curbing: “Fraud, waste, abuse in our Medicaid program.”

Budget 101: Outgo

Jul 4, 2017
courtesy: Tax Structure Task Force

Yesterday we looked at state income, as part of Budget 101. Today we’ll look at the outgo.

Where does Louisiana spend its $9-billion of State General Fund revenue?  Let’s begin with what are known as “non-discretionary” items.

Health Care Budget: 'Big is Federal'

Apr 7, 2017
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.”

Louisiana’s senior Senator, Republican Bill Cassidy, presented a possible replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act Monday. 

This Time, the Sky Really IS Falling

Feb 2, 2016
Sue Lincoln

“We didn’t need to create a doomsday budget. Governor Jindal did that for us.”

Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says even though citizens have been told the sky was falling for the past several years, this time everybody better grab an umbrella.

“These are not cherry-picking the worst possible things to get everybody all in a lather. This is the reality of what we’ll have to deal with.”

Dardenne was blunt with the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday, talking about the cuts DHH will have to take as part of curing the 750-million dollar current budget shortfall.

Planned Parenthood: The Hits Just Keep On Coming

Aug 5, 2015

Another undercover video was released by the Center for Medical Progress Tuesday, showing Melissa Farrell, research director with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, in Houston.

“We’re going to potentially be able to have some that will be more or less intact, and some that will not be,” Farrell says in the tape, referring to fetal tissue removed during an abortion.

Governor Bobby Jindal spoke with Fox News about “This woman, talking in barbaric, just brutal terms about these unborn children and their organs. I’m hopeful that folks will wake up and say, ‘Enough’s enough’.”

Don't Call It Medicaid Expansion

Jun 16, 2015

Is Republican House Speaker Chuck Kleckley calling for Medicaid expansion? No, that can’t be right. 

In the 2010 legislative session, Gov. Jindal signed into law a largely symbolic bill declaring all Louisianians free from quote “governmental intrusion in choosing or declining to choose any mode of securing health insurance coverage.” That was shortly after the federal Affordable Care Act passed, and 31 Republican lawmakers, including Kleckley, co-authored the measure.

Fast forward to today. Kleckey pushed the resolution allowing Louisiana’s next governor to pay for Medicaid expansion. Both houses approved, and the governor has no say.