Even with $523 million in announced health care cuts, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has slashed only two-thirds of the spending needed to close the entire gap in Louisiana's Medicaid budget.
The administration is banking on better-than-expected revenue projections to close the remaining budget hole.
If that doesn't pan out in the next few months, more reductions are on the horizon. And even if the funding does show up, there could be legal hurdles to accessing the cash to fill the Medicaid budget.
State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson says Gov. Bobby Jindal's decision to refuse expansion of the state's Medicaid program under the recently upheld federal health care law is akin to him signing a death warrant for community hospitals.
Peterson, head of the Louisiana Democratic Party, spoke at the Press Club of Baton Rouge Monday on the Medicaid cuts and the governor's rejection of the federal health care overhaul in Louisiana. The state Department of Health and Hospitals said Friday it will have to cut $329 million from the public health care system run by LSU.
Health care providers and patients who rely on Louisiana's Medicaid program are expected to learn Friday how the Jindal administration plans to slash $859 million in the program that takes care of the poor, elderly and disabled.
The cuts are tied to a congressional reduction in Louisiana's federal Medicaid financing rate.
The reductions will strip 11 percent of the funding from the $7.7 billion Medicaid budget that lawmakers passed for the fiscal year that began July 1.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's decision against expanding the state's Medicaid program under the federal health law, combined with a provision that shrinks uninsured care dollars, could leave Louisiana hospitals with far less money to care for those not on private insurance.
Hospital leaders say the situation could leave some LSU-run public hospitals and small rural hospitals teetering on the edge of closure and give them little way to recoup money they spend to care for uninsured patients.
Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein says he expects to announce by Friday how he'll divvy up $859 million in cuts to Louisiana's Medicaid program.
The cut is tied to a congressional reduction in Louisiana's federal Medicaid financing rate.
Greenstein didn't offer details Tuesday about what will be slashed. But hospitals, doctors and other health providers are bracing for cuts that could shrink the money they receive for taking care of Medicaid patients and the uninsured.
U.S. Sen. David Vitter is highlighting his role as Louisiana's lone member on the congressional committee that drew up a final version of the federal highway bill. But he's omitting the detail that the bill blows an $859 million hole in Louisiana's Medicaid funding.
As President Barack Obama was set to sign the measure into law Friday, Louisiana's Democrats were questioning Vitter's role in slashing the Medicaid dollars and asking if he fought against the cuts.