Republican Governor Bobby Jindal announced Tuesday that he was cutting Medicaid services for Louisiana’s dying poor, among other services getting the ax. No more hospice, starting February 1st. The terminally ill will no longer have hospice assistance.
Ironically, the only other state to try this was Arizona, and they found it too expensive in the end. Arizona ended up reinstating hospice. KPLCTV reported:
Louisiana will become one of only two states to eliminate Medicaid hospice. Arizona was in that mix, but has already reinstituted it because it costs more. “You’re going to pick them up and bring them to the emergency room, to the hospital, which costs considerably more than the $140/day paid for by the state for the Medicaid program,” said Phelps.
State Senator Dan “Blade” Morrish says state cuts were a must to balance the budget, but the Medicaid hospice plan needs to be looked at again. “There comes a time in budget cuts when there is a line that you just can’t cross anymore,” he said, “and I think we’ve reached that with the hospice issue.”
Perhaps facing such a budget problem, it might have been wise for Jindal to rehink his plan of killing revenue by getting rid of both personal and corporate state income taxes. Not to worry, he’s going to offset the lost revenue with sales taxes, which hit the poor and middle class far more than they do the wealthy.
Bobby Jindal has been privatizing public hospitals in Louisiana, another plan that has been proven to cost more money because once you get profit involved, things tend to cost more while accountability goes down. Jindal claims he needs to do this because Congress cut Louisiana’s Medicaid budget.
In fact, it wasn’t “Congress”, it was House Republicans, and they were actually asking for twice as much to be cut from Lousiana’s Medicaid budget. “The House GOP proposed targeting roughly $1.3 billion in FMAP Medicaid funds for Louisiana.” Republicans are blaming a typo from Senator Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) 2010 efforts to address FMAP (Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage)funds which resulted in $4 billion more in funding than they anticipated.
At any rate, Louisiana’s dying will no longer have the comfort and assistance of hospice. Death Panels, anyone?