BATON ROUGE - Today, Governor John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) outlined how the proposed changes to the Executive Budget, HB 1, would threaten vital health care services and families in the State of Louisiana. This week, the House Appropriations Committee Chairman unveiled drastic changes to the budget without prior consultation with legislators and the administration. The plan would likely close hospitals across the state, including our flagship hospitals that train the next generation of medical professionals, eliminate waiver programs that provide lifesaving services, and would limit the state’s ability to provide licenses to facilities and adequately investigate complaints. In addition, the state is at risk of losing more than $1 billion in federal funding.
In April, Gov. Edwards proposed a budget to the legislature that recognizes a $600 million deficit remaining for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. Gov. Edwards intends to call the legislature into a second special session to raise additional revenue to adequately fund our priorities.
“The budget proposal I presented to the legislature does not reflect my priorities, and I intend to work with the legislature to raise the revenue to properly fund critical services, such as TOPS, health care services, and higher education,” said Gov. Edwards. “However, the plan presented by the House Appropriations Committee this week teeters between irresponsible and reckless. When we are talking about services that literally mean the difference between life or death and the future financial stability of our state, we should be working in a collaborative manner with a common goal – to make sure the people of Louisiana are cared for in the most efficient way possible. While we are all working to make sure we can end the cycle of dangerous cuts to education and health care, including TOPS, this plan is nothing more than a political stunt that jeopardizes the future of our state and puts families at unnecessary risk.”
“The haphazard manner in which the House Appropriations Committee crafted this budget will be devastating to Louisiana’s health care system,” said Dr. Rebekah Gee, Secretary of DHH. “The governor proposed a responsible plan that kept critical services intact in a more responsible way. Unfortunately, that plan concocted by the chairman jeopardizes life-saving services for some of the state’s most vulnerable patients and families, our critical public-private partnership hospitals, and potentially ends public medical education in the state. We simply cannot let the state go down this path of destruction, and this administration is working night and day to protect these important services.”
Under the plan submitted this week by the House Appropriations Committee, the following health care services would be impacted:
Fraud, Waste, and Abuse: