Medicaid cuts

Nearly $52 million in state cuts to Medicaid services go into effect Friday, Feb. 1. The reductions are part of the Dept. of Health and Hospitals’ response to a mid-year shortfall in Louisiana’s general fund.

The cuts include the elimination of dental benefits for pregnant women and a healthy parenting program for first-time mothers who qualify for Medicaid. Additionally, the rate paid to hospitals and physicians for non-primary care services through Medicaid will be dropped by 1 percent.

Gov. Bobby Jindal says he's confident LSU's network of public hospitals and clinics will protect health care services, despite cuts that strip a quarter of the system's funding.

Lawmakers have said they don't understand how the university-run health care system can shrink its budget by $329 million this year without shutting facilities that take care of the poor and uninsured.

But Jindal on Tuesday told reporters that "LSU is well on their way to presenting a plan that's going to protect critical services."

Moody's Investors Service says Louisiana's loss of as much as $859 million in Medicaid financing is a "credit negative" for the state.

The notation from the bond-rating agency does not yet affect the state government bond rating — currently high investment grade and stable — but denotes for investors a significant change in the state's balance sheet.

The Times-Picayune reports ( the cut is tied to a congressional reduction in Louisiana's federal Medicaid financing rate.

LSU's network of charity hospitals and clinics will lose a quarter of its budget, with the Jindal administration choosing to levy the largest slice of Medicaid cuts on the facilities.

Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein said nearly $317 million of the $523 million in cuts announced Friday will fall on the public health care system run by LSU.

Hospital officials had previously warned that they couldn't make deep cuts without shuttering facilities.

BATON ROUGE — Officials at Louisiana's health department are looking for ways to cut $859 million from the state's Medicaid program for the poor and uninsured. It would strip 11 percent of the funding for health services.