On Thursday of last week (2/11/16), Sound Off Louisiana provided a sneak preview of Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy’s Republican Response to Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ call for $3 billion in increased taxes. Reaction was swift and biting on a blog post by LSU Manship Chair of Journalism’s Bob Mann. Reader comments at the bottom of the blog post (which are VERY intriguing to read), among other things, accuse Kennedy of:
- Advancing his political career on the backs of “the poor,” who are reliant upon Medicaid.
[Note: I countered with video of Kennedy attacking preferential treatment to upper-level state brass.]
- Suggesting a violation of Federal law via his contention that a Patient Navigator System may be used by hospitals to deny patient access to emergency rooms (ERs) to patients for NON-emergency care and instead re-route them to a private-care clinic.
[Note: I referred Mann’s readers to the 1:45 – 2:15 mark of Kennedy’s reference to Hermann Hospital in Houston deploying such a system. I challenged anyone to go on camera for a debate with Kennedy on this issue for us all to iron out who is right and who is wrong and establish whether Hermann Hospital in Houston is “violating Federal law.” So far, nobody has taken me up on my offer to videotape such a debate with Kennedy, but the invitation remains wide open].
- Being clueless about a report by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera entailing Louisiana’s outlays on tax credits to corporations.
[Note: I referred the reader to this video interview with WAFB (Channel 9 in Baton Rouge)’s Kiran Chawla wherein Kennedy expresses extensive knowledge of the report and stated his firm opinions on the very matter which one of Mann’s readers said Kennedy “should be” aware of but contented Kennedy was not aware of it].
There are other less glaring pop shots taken at Kennedy, and I welcome anyone to read the entirety of Mann’s post and the reader comments entailing Kennedy. What is shocking, however, is that so many pop shots are taken at Kennedy with not one substantive challenge (other than one reader’s challenge that Kennedy’s suggestion on using a Patient Navigator System “violates Federal law”) to his statements. In my own opinion, this is why Kennedy is cleaning Gov. Edwards’ clock on this issue because neither Edwards nor his team has provided substantive counter arguments to Kennedy.
Let’s proceed to two video posts for today. First, U. S. Rep. Charles Boustany (who, like Kennedy, is a candidate for U. S. Senate) responds to a question I posed on Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion. Dr. Boustany, a cardiovascular specialist, succinctly states the impact of expanding Medicaid without corresponding reform of the Medicaid system in Louisiana:
Boustany Addresses Medicaid
Expansion question posed by Sound Off Louisiana‘s
Robert Burns at the meeting of the Baton
Rouge Press Club (BRPC) of
Monday February 8, 2016.
Next, and in reference to the weak responses to Kennedy’s statements by Edwards and his staffers, let’s examine Barry Irwin, Chairman & CEO of the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL), whom I know is not an Edwards staffer, but of whom, at the meeting of the BRPC of Monday, February 15, 2016, I asked to comment on Edwards’ Press Secretary of Health and Hospital’s official response to Kennedy’s assertion of Medicaid fraud, waste, and abuse:
Irwin Address Medicaid Issues
@ 2/15/16 BRPC Meeting.
You heard right!! The official response of the Edwards Administration is that Kennedy’s $900 million figure for “fraud,” is not just comprised of fraud but is instead comprised of “fraud, waste, and abuse.“ Wow! That is one hell of a counter-argument to Kennedy’s assertions!
One big question to be asked is this: “Why have Louisiana health care providers agreed to pony up $2.1 million to begin signing up folk for Medicaid because it would be illegal for the State of Louisiana to pay for such signups prior to Medicaid expansion being officially accomplished (i.e. the required red tape in Washington completed)?”
My speculation on the answer: They know full well that expansion will further strain the demand on private clinics, and they KNOW there will be no increase in Medicaid provider rates. Therefore, as Boustany states, “emergency rooms will be flooded.” These hospitals with ERs are salivating at the additional abuse they know is coming because they know that means much more money for them. THAT is why they are willing to pony up the $2.1 million in advance. They don’t want to have to wait around for the huge windfall of money they know will come their way once Medicaid expansion becomes official in Louisiana. Anyone got a better theory?
Note: To see Rep. Boustany’s address in its entirety, Click Here
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