The cuts come as Congress adjusts the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) formula for Louisiana, which saw a boost in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The formula is based on individual incomes, and Senator Landrieu successfully argued that the state should not penalized because some residents had received large sums from insurance companies to settle damage claims.
Louisiana’s latest round of austerity measures come on the heels of significant national movement on the health care issue, with the Supreme Court’s deciding to uphold the Affordable Care Act in late June. The law allows states to expand Medicaid coverage to approximately 17 million of the country’s estimated 30 million uninsured residents. In spite of the budgetary crunch facing the state and a decrease in its federal Medicaid funds, Governor Jindal has stated that Louisiana will not participate in the expanded Medicaid system.
The Governor’s Office did not respond to questions The Louisiana Weekly submitted by email in time for publication.
Jindal has a long history of cutting the state’s healthcare infrastructure costs. He was appointed to run the Department of Health and Hospitals in 1996 when it accounted for 40 percent of the state’s budget and ran a deficit. Under his watch, the shortfall converted to a surplus, but critics charge that the surplus appeared when small clinics were shut down.
Potash criticized the manner in which state officials decided to close SELH. “Logic would say: ‘why would they close Southeast?’ This was a secretive decision, and when you make political decisions in secret, they’re made without the benefit of sound information and input. So by it’s very nature it’s pretty much guaranteed to be wrong.”