Louisiana Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Carter Peterson issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement by the Department of Health & Hospitals of $859 Million in cuts to the Louisiana Medicaid program.
“The Medicaid cuts announced today are testimony to the failures of vision, leadership and empathy of Louisiana’s top Republican leaders, Governor Jindal and Senator Vitter.
“These cuts will devastate Louisiana’s health care delivery system. They are short-sighted and unconscionable. They will end up costing the State of Louisiana more money in the long-term. They will also cost some Louisiana residents their lives.
Proof of Jindal’s Fiscal Mismanagement
“These cuts are proof of the Jindal Administration’s callous disregard for the health and welfare of those who are not contributors to the Governor’s campaigns. They are also the latest exhibit of the fiscal mismanagement of this state under five years of Governor Jindal’s tenure here.
“The Governor knew that at some point this claw back of the FMAP funding was coming, but he chose to pretend that it was not. He did not plan for it. He did not anticipate it. And, so, we find ourselves where we are today, confronted by stark cuts that will inflict harm on our institutions and our people.
“These cuts hit all forms of care in Louisiana from behavioral health to nursing home care. They break earlier promises made by the administration to communities about access to care, particularly behavioral health care.
“The Governor can prattle on all he wants about balancing the state budget and not raising taxes, but those statements show his failure to grasp the essential fact about government — that at the end of every dollar spent is a Louisiana citizen with a need that the state must meet. Government exists to serve the needs of its citizens. This is especially true when it comes to the provision of health care services for the poor, our children and the disabled.
“Shame on the Governor for putting his national ambitions ahead of the need to put our state on sound financial footing.
“Republicans like to compare government budgets to family budgets. Are we to believe that Governor Jindal and his Republican allies’ family budgets have no cushion to help them through tough times — no margin for error in the event rosy scenarios don’t pan out?
“That’s how they have been running our state. And that’s why the state is so ill prepared to deal with these cuts forced on us by Republicans in Congress.
These Are Vitter’s Cuts
“These cuts and their impact fall directly at the feet of Senator David Vitter, who sat idly by in his seat on the Conference Committee that set the terms of the Transportation Bill. While the Senator crowed about the work he did on other Louisiana priorities, the state’s health care delivery system somehow escaped his attention.
“The push for these cuts began in the Republican controlled House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee. Republicans approved those cuts in the House version of the bill, but the cuts were rejected in the Senate version of the bill. Senator Vitter and Governor Jindal want us to believe that they could not use their national standing in their party to save Louisiana citizens from these devastating cuts. These cuts could not have happened without their consent or complicity.
“Although these cuts will initially impact the Medicaid program, they will ripple across this state and affect every provider, every hospital and, yes, every Louisiana citizen.
“The cuts announced today are blaring testimony to the failures of vision, leadership and empathy on the part of the state’s top Republican officeholders. Louisiana will pay a steep price for their failures. The Governor and our Junior Senator should be ashamed of themselves.”
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Originally published: July 13, 2012