Louisiana Bill To Redistribute Medicaid Funds
TheLouisiana Senate on Monday voted 27-8 to approve legislation that would changethe way Medicaid funding is divided among charity hospitals in the southernregion of the state, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. The bill (SB 402), sponsored by state Sen. Bill Cassidy (R),is intended to correct what some lawmakers see as a disparity in the amount oftax dollars going to New Orleans Charity Hospital facilities compared with theamount going to the other hospitals in the charity hospital system run by Louisiana State University.
According to a chart distributed by Cassidy, New Orleanscharity hospitals treat about 20% of the state's uninsured but receive nearly50% of the $653 million spent by Louisianaeach year on care for the uninsured. Cassidy said this disparity creates longerwait times for patients in other parts of the state.
Under the proposal, LSU would be directed to work with the state Department of Health and Hospitals to create a formula to distributeindigent care funding based on the number of uninsured people in each region ofthe state by Feb. 1, 2009. The new formula would have to be approved by thestate House and Senate health care committees and would be phased in over fiveyears, beginning in 2010. The bill would not affect financing for private andcommunity hospitals, rural hospitals or charity hospitals in Alexandria,Monroa and Shreveport.
Democratic lawmakers say New Orleans receivesmore Medicaid funding per capita because it sees a disproportionate amount ofcostly and complex procedures than regional hospitals (Moller, New OrleansTimes-Picayune,5/13).
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