Last Modified: Thursday, October 25, 2012 9:37 PM
A nonpartisan good-government group says brakes should be applied to efforts to reform Louisiana’s public health care system.
The highly respected Public Affairs Research Council acknowledges that far-reaching changes are overdue, but said reforms should be ‘‘deliberate’’ and include ‘‘transparent strategic planning with partners, adequate funding and implementation time.’’
PAR notes that since 2007 it has called for fundamental change in the way the state delivers health care to the poor and uninsured. It said Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration and LSU officials have responded to a sudden reduction of federal Medicaid funding by downsizing the 10 charity hospitals across the state and pursuing private partnerships.
PAR said Jindal and LSU leaders should follow four principles in enacting these reforms:
• Explain the plan for coverage. PAR says the governor should explain why he has said the state will not participate in the Medicaid expansion offered through President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and what funding sources he expects to use to make up some of the difference.
• Engage local communities in long-range planning. PAR said the haste in how reforms have been implemented have not allowed for communities to understand and respond with local solutions.
• Ensure good outcomes. PAR believes that privatizing parts of the LSU system could produce better results at a lower cost.
• Be transparent. PAR said the process in which decisions have been made has been shielded by the governor’s administration, giving PAR ‘‘concern about the openness of these reforms.’’
Bobby Yarbrough, who is a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors and of PAR, called PAR’s position ‘‘academic’’ and said the governor and LSU must make budget cuts now.
Yarbrough is right that the loss of $800 million in federal funding has put the governor’s office and the LSU board in crisis mode.
Paul Rainwater, Jindal’s chief of staff, told The Advocate of Baton Rouge that the state has no other option and that it would be irresponsible to delay.
But PAR President Robert Scott counters that, saying not engaging communities and fast-tracking schedules for public-private partnerships may not lead to the best outcomes.
There’s a fine line to be walked here, much like the line the governor and LSU board must negotiate between making distasteful, but necessary, cuts while providing adequate health care for more than 1 million Louisiana residents who depend on the charity hospital system.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.
Posted By: Dwight On: 10/26/2012
Title: Dismatle the public health care system
The governor and his administration are ideologues who don't believe in public heath care so they are wrecking it while they have the chance.