Senate Committee on Health and Welfare will meet today to discuss what impact the $100 million reduction in funding during the 2023 legislative session will have on the Department of Health. Governor John Bel Edwards says revenue was available so many lawmakers were blindsided by the cut.
“Despite the fact that we were again directing record amounts of recurring revenue to one-time expenditures at the very last minute and unbeknownst to everybody but a hand full there was a $100 million dollar cut to the Department of Health.”
Lawmakers complained they only had 20 minutes to review the final budget before they were asked to vote to approve it. A healthcare reduction of that size had not been discussed for several weeks. AARP Director of Advocacy Andrew Muhl hopes Edwards will restore provider rates and waiver slots for adults with disabilities and seniors.
“If this cut goes through that the house made last week, then we’re going to be going backward. And that wait list is going to get longer and the wait time is going to get longer. And what will happen is more individuals will die on the waitlist while they’re waiting.”
The $100 million cut would equal around $400-$500 million because the state uses its health care money to draw down more money from the federal government. Edwards may use his line-item veto power to restore the 100 million dollars to LDH.
“We’re just not going to do that on my watch. The very first day I was Governor I signed Medicaid expansion because I believe people need more healthcare and not less. And we’re not going to do that.”
Edwards would have to take money from other portions of the spending plan to balance the budget.