Louisiana governor faces harsh criticism over plan to target elderly, disabled with medicaid cuts louisiana watchdog.org what do you put for highest level of education

Republican lawmakers and a policy expert are criticizing louisiana gov. John bel edwards’ recent announcement that tens of thousands of elderly and disabled medicaid recipients would lose their benefits july 1 if an ongoing budget stalemate continues.

With the state facing a nearly $700 million budget shortfall, edwards said the state was sending termination notices to about 60,000 elderly and disabled medicaid recipients.

The state department of health’s chief financial officer, jeff reynolds, said at a recent house appropriations hearing that federal law requires a 60-day notice be provided to recipients whose benefits may expire. Those likely to receive notices include 46,000 people who qualify for long-term care in nursing homes or their personal residence, and 14,000 people who receive personal care assistance in their homes.

The louisiana nursing home association stated that the proposed cuts could affect about 16,500 nursing home residents, forcing them out of nursing facilities because they have no other income source to pay for their care.Elderly disabled

House appropriations committee chairman cameron henry, R-metairie, implied at a hearing this week that edwards’ proposing the cuts was avoidable and sending out the notices could have been prevented altogether.

"This administration, like other administrations, always go after the poor and vulnerable when they are trying to scare legislators into voting for taxes,” henry said.

“it’s shameful that edwards has proposed taking away coverage from the most vulnerable, without even touching the massive obamacare medicaid expansion to the able-bodied – many of whom already had private health coverage before they went onto the government rolls,” jacobs told watchdog.Org.

Louisiana is one of several states that expanded medicaid under the affordable care act. Beginning in july 2016, it extended care to more than 450,000 mostly lower income families in the state who were previously inelligible, including able-bodied adults without children.Department health

If current spending trends continue, medicaid is expected to cost louisiana $1 billion more per year than it did in 2017, according to the state department of health. The estimated direct cost to taxpayers per year is $100 million to louisianans and $900 million to the federal government.

“ironically in his session opening speech … We once again heard the governor repeat how his expansion of medicaid was saving money," sen. Conrad appel, R-jefferson parish, said this week. "If you listened closely to the governor’s original demand to fix the fiscal cliff this year, it was for $1 billion in new taxes. But not just any taxes, taxes that had growth potential.

“as we know, that didn’t happen and so with the loss of his ever-growing tax scheme, the governor’s plan now seems to be to fix the short term shortfall with just any kind of new taxes during his first term coupled with the hope that we ignore the growth of medicaid spending as it expands into the future.”

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Earlier this month, the house voted 69-29 on house bill 3 (HB 3), which was originally designed to require able-bodied medicaid recipients to work in order to receive their subsidized healthcare. But an altered version allowed recipients who refused to work to still receive medicaid. Last year, the senate considered a similar bill to mandate work requirements but it failed to pass after health and consumer groups voiced strong opposition.

Its sponsor, rep. Frank hoffman, R-west monroe, touted the bill as a cost-savings initiative. HB 3 “suggests" that able-bodied medicaid recipients find employment, take educational classes or volunteer. Critics argued that its implementation would be costly and have no guaranteed outcome. The legislative fiscal office said it couldn’t determine how much HB 3 would cost the state, citing the measures vague wording.Elderly disabled

Another proposed medicaid reform was house bill 2, which would require the department of health to verify more thoroughly medicaid recipients’ stated household incomes. It sought to change the percentage used to gauge investigating the income threshold for medicaid recipients from more than 25 percent over the upper income threshold to 10 percent. Louisiana is the only state in the country that doesn’t hold to the 10 percent standard.

The cost of verifying income would be primarily covered by the federal government. The department of health and the department of revenue might have to hire additional staff and implement a new computer tracking system.

Jacobs, of the pelican institute, said that the current situation in louisiana “further demonstrates how obamacare, along with the edwards administration, prioritize the needs of able-bodied adults over individuals with disabilities.”