The Latest: Governor slams delay on La. Medicaid contracts
Nov. 03, 2017
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on an Edwards administration proposal to extend the contracts for Louisiana's Medicaid managed-care companies (all times local):
Gov. John Bel Edwards says House Republicans who stalled his administration's Medicaid managed-care contracts are obstructing "the important business of our state."
The Democratic governor said the vote to block contract extensions for managed-care companies that coordinate services for 1.5 million Medicaid patients exposes a "lack of good faith effort on their part to move our state forward."
In Friday's joint legislative budget committee hearing, senators unanimously backed the 23-month contract extensions, while House lawmakers voted 18-6 against them. House GOP lawmakers voted in a near-bloc against approval.
Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry, who led the House push to stall approval, says he wants the Edwards administration to look for more savings out of deals estimated to cost $15.4 billion, and come back in December.
The contracts expire in January.
The House Republican leader who pushed to delay approval of $15 billion in Medicaid contracts says he expects the deals to eventually win passage. But he hopes they'll be tweaked before they are completed.
Appropriations Committee Chairman Cameron Henry said he and other lawmakers want the state health department to try to find additional savings and respond to audits that raised concerns about the managed-care companies' performance.
He noted spending on the contracts accounts for one-quarter of the state operating budget.
The managed-care companies coordinate services for 1.5 million Medicaid patients. GOP lawmakers on the joint House and Senate budget committee Friday stalled extensions to keep the companies in place for another 23 months.
The contracts expire in January. Henry said he expects another meeting on the contract proposals in December.
House Republican lawmakers have blocked contract extensions for managed-care companies that coordinate services for 1.5 million Medicaid patients in Louisiana.
The extensions sought by Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration were up for approval Friday in the joint House and Senate budget committee. Senators unanimously backed the 23-month extensions, while House lawmakers voted 18-6 against them.
Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry, who led the House push to stall approval, says he wants the Edwards administration to squeeze more savings out of deals estimated to cost $15.4 billion, and come back in December.
The contracts expire in January.
State health department officials say the only way to cut contract costs is to change services, which happens outside the contracting process. They say refusal to extend the contracts would damage services for Medicaid patients.
Louisiana's lawmakers are taking their second look at a proposal to extend high-dollar contracts for the managed-care companies that coordinate health services for most state Medicaid patients.
Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration wants to keep the deals in place for the five managed-care companies for another 23 months beyond their January expiration date. The price tag for the extension is estimated at $15.4 billion in federal and state cash.
The joint House and Senate budget committee is holding a special hearing Friday on the extension request. That comes two weeks after lawmakers postponed a decision, saying they wanted more time to study deals that are among the most expensive in state government.
The private companies coordinate services for 90 percent of Louisiana's Medicaid recipients, nearly 1.5 million people.