health care

With a battle cry of “Repeal Obamacare”, Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate earlier this month. Wrangling in Washington over when—or if—to actually act on that campaign promise is part of the backdrop to Louisiana’s Senate runoff.


Cheryl DalPozzal / It's New Orleans

There are a number of New Orleans businesses that are as much a part of the unique vocabulary of New Orleanians as "muffuletta" and "poboy." Some of them — like K&B and Schwegmans  — are in the "aint dere no more" category. One New Orleans institution that is still here is what we call either "Oxner" or "Oshner." However you say it, everybody in New Orleans knows what you mean. Its real title is Ochsner Health System.

Should Louisiana hospitals be guaranteed a set amount of state health care funding—if they put up part of the money themselves? That’s what Constitutional Amendment 2 on Tuesday’s ballot is asking voters to decide.

Cheryl DalPozzal / It's New Orleans

Whatever era of boom or bust we’re in, it seems we never stop working on healthcare, or on education.

Locally, in education, New Orleans is the only city in the United States where 100 percent of our public schools are charter schools. What started out as a post-Katrina experiment has become a nationwide trend setting model. The Executive Director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, Caroline Roemer Shirley, explains the revolutionary new business model to Peter Ricchiuti on this episode of Out to Lunch.

Between Essen, Bluebonnet, Perkins and I-10 in Baton Rouge, there’s a whole bunch of health clinics and medical facilities – including Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, Baton Rouge General, The Baton Rouge Clinic, and Pennington Biomedical. 

Chances are you'll get stuck in traffic when you drive through that corridor. 

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has set out to address that problem by creating a new Health District that would not only mean you sit through fewer traffic lights, but that health care is delivered more efficiently. 

Almost every pregnant woman in Louisiana will now have to wait 39 weeks if they want to choose their baby's birthday and have it covered by insurance. The state's Medicaid program, which insures about 70 percent of all pregnant women in the state, and the state's largest private insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield, both announced in recent months that they will stop covering medically unnecessary early term inducements and cesareans.   

During the last legislative session, state Sen. Ben Nevers fought hard for the expansion of Medicaid in Louisiana under the Affordable Care Act. But ultimately, a bill to put the issue on the ballot didn’t even make it out of committee. 

But the legislature did pass another bill from Nevers, compelling the state Department of Health and Hospitals to come up with a plan for Louisiana to pilot “America Next” — Gov. Bobby Jindal’s alternative to Obamacare. 

DHH put out their initial report in response a few weeks ago.


UPDATE: The state Office of Group Benefits announced on Oct. 1 -- the first day of the enrollment period for the new health insurance plans -- that the enrollment period will extend until Nov. 30 and the changes will take effect March 1, instead of Jan. 1. In a statement, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said, “Shifting our timeline will give people the chance to get accurate information and better understand their options.”  

The state House Appropriations Committee spent all day Thursday taking testimony about changes to health insurance plans offered for 230,000 state employees, teachers, retirees and their family members through the Louisiana Office of Group Benefits.

The Legislative Fiscal Office had looked over the offerings and estimated maximum out-of-pocket costs for people covered through OGB could go up significantly, 47 percent on average, more than $1,600 per year for a single active employee.

The new plans are supposed to take effect in January. The enrollment period is slated to start next week.

Local Healthcare Sector Booms with Associate Degree Workers

Sep 22, 2014

Jobs that require only a two-year degree are the fastest growing in the healthcare sector. That’s especially true in the Baton Rouge area, according to the Brookings Institute. Roughly half of healthcare workers here have less than a bachelor’s degree, ranking Baton Rouge 17th among the top U.S. metros.

 


Congress is taking a look at veterans hospitals under construction — including the one taking shape in New Orleans.

It comes after a report found some medical centers are taking longer and costing more than estimated.

The House has passed a bill to increase oversight.

The report found some medical centers are taking three years longer to complete than estimated, and costing an extra $366 million per project.

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