Louisiana Criticizes Insurance Voucher Proposal For Low-Income, Uninsured

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The Louisiana Senate Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday gave a "chillyreception" to a proposal by the Coalition ofLeaders for Louisiana Healthcare that would have used funds for charity care in the New Orleans area to purchase managed careplans for low-income, uninsured adults, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Committee members saidthat the $156 million proposal was too costly and that an attempt to overhaulthe health care system should be done on a statewide basis.

Under the coalition's plan, 61,000 uninsured residents would receive insurancevouchers to enroll in managed care "medical homes." Premiums wouldaverage $194 per month and would be paid for with Medicaid dollars thatcurrently fund most of the care in the Louisiana StateUniversity charitysystem, the Times-Picayune reports. LSU would retain the remaining$214 million in Medicaid funds to finance care for up to 50,000 residents whowould remain uninsured.

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State Sen. Joe McPherson (D) said the cost estimates are unrealistic and addedthat the plan also does not account for inflation.

Mark Peters, CEO of East Jefferson General Hospital and leader of the coalition, saidthat the legislation is not needed for the plan to be established, adding thatthe state could switch to the model if the federal government approves awaiver. Peters said he hopes a waiver will be approved before January 2009,adding that the plan is similar to one supported by HHSSecretary Mike Leavitt. A waiver application from the state would require theapproval of health care committees(Moller, in the Legislature, according to the Times-PicayuneNew OrleansTimes-Picayune, 4/10).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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