Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 9:37 am
The legislature technically decided Wednesday to put off accepting federal funding for health care expansion, which would include more low-income individuals under Medicaid. A series of bills were voluntarily deferred, both in the House and Senate, to be taken up next week. A bill by Rep. Barbara Norton was involuntarily deferred - that’s typically a death sentence for a bill.
The representatives that voted to shelve Norton’s bill did so because they’re unsure of what will happen if they accept the money - despite that the Legislative Fiscal Office testifying that the program would initially save the state money.
A new report estimates that nearly 353,000 Louisianans will be eligible for federal subsidies to offset the cost of a health insurance premium, making coverage affordable for lower-income families when the new health care law takes effect next year. But the head of the Louisiana Consumer Healthcare Coalition finds that many residents don’t understand how these "premium tax credits" work. Moriba Karamoko said even the word “tax” in the name has a very chilling effect.
Louisiana's health department is acknowledging that planned cuts in the state's Medicaid program will eliminate hospice care for all Medicaid recipients beginning in February.
Hospice care aims to make dying people more comfortable in their final months of life. In announcing reductions to hospice care funding last week, officials with Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration said hospice care at nursing homes would not be eliminated.
A $258 million judgment against health products maker Johnson & Johnson has been upheld by a state appeals court.
A three-judge panel of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a St. Landry Parish jury's decision that the company owed the money to the state for defrauding the Medicaid program, by misleading Louisiana doctors about the possible side effects of one of its anti-psychotic medications.
Louisiana's health agency must save $56 million on drugs for Medicaid patients to help balance the state budget, but doesn't yet have a final plan for doing that.
A top aide to health Secretary Bruce Greenstein say the changes will take effect Oct. 1, and emergency rules will be published in September.
Legislators, pharmacy interests and others tell The Advocate they are concerned about the lack of transparency and what they call a rush to make changes that need caution to avoid damaging health care. Consumer groups worry about restricted drug access.