Monday, May 27, 2024

Louisiana Senate to hold hearing on $100 million health department cut

by BIZ Magazine

By Julie O’Donoghue, Louisiana Illuminator

The Louisiana Senate Health and Welfare Committee will hold a hearing on the $100 million reduction to the state health department’s funding included in the new budget plan. The meeting will take place at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Louisiana Capitol.

Committee Chairman Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, said he expected health care providers and state officials to testify on what services would be affected by the funding loss. The $100 million cut could grow to four or five times its size because almost every state health care dollar is used to draw down more money from the federal government. When state funding is cut, Louisiana tends to lose significantly more in federal health care support. 

Mills and other senators felt blindsided by the health care funding loss on the last day of the legislative session. Most lawmakers didn’t get to see the final budget plan their leadership put together until a few minutes before they were asked to vote to approve it. A health care reduction of that size had not been discussed for several weeks.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is also said to be seriously considering a veto of the $100 health care million cut. If the governor restores that funding, he’ll have to take the money from some other portion of the spending plan to keep the budget in balance. That could include removing infrastructure projects very important to lawmakers.

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