Boustany: “Expanding Medicaid without accompanying Medicaid reforms is a disaster that will flood Louisiana emergency rooms.” Treasurer John Kennedy’s credentials and motives openly questioned on widely-viewed blog.

Charles_Boustany
U. S. Rep. (& U. S. Senate Candidate) Charles Boustany

 

Barry_Irwin
CABL President & CEO Barry Irwin

 

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:

 

  1. 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.]

 

  1. 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].

 

  1. 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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Kennedy Provides Sneak Preview of Republican Response to JBE’s Statewide Call for Higher Taxes to Air This Evening at 6:30 p.m.

John_Kennedy
Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy

Tonight, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards will make a statewide television appeal for Louisiana individuals and businesses to pay substantially more taxes.  He will make his appeal on statewide television at 6:30 p.m. this evening.  Louisiana Treasurer (and U. S. Senate candidate) John Kennedy will follow with the Republican response.  To get a sneak preview of Kennedy’s expected response, merely view the video below of a presentation he made to the East Baton Rouge Parish Ronald Reagan Republican luncheon delivered at 12:00 noon today:

 

 


Kennedy counters Edwards’ insistence that tax increases are
the solution to Louisiana’s budgetary woes.

 

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Dardenne: “The $615,000 increase in State Employees’ Retirement System’s UAL resulting from my appointment sends message that JBE wanted the best possible person for Commissioner, and that’s what he got.”……..Concurs with Kennedy’s $720 million in DHH wasteful spending on E. R. abuse but slams him on asserted “Stat Ded” savings.

Jay_Dardenne
Louisiana Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne

John_Kennedy
Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy

Sound Off Louisiana viewers may recall a previous post in which we lambasted the $615,000 increase to LASERS’ Unfunded Accrued Liability (UAL) resulting from the Jay Dardenne appointment. At the meeting of the Baton Rouge Press Club of Monday, February 1, 2016, Sound Off Louisiana’s Robert Burns asked Dardenne what kind of message he feels that it sends to average citizens entailing his $615,000 increase to the UAL when those citizens are being asked to endure budget cuts and/or tax increases, and Dardenne’s response follows:

Burns asks Dardenne to assess the message it sends to the public
for his appointment to result in a $615,000 increase in the State
Employees’ Unfunded Accrued Liability, which presently stands
at around $18 billion (or $4,000 for every man, woman, and child
residing in Louisiana).

Although lambasting Treasurer John Kennedy during his presentation, as demonstrated by the following question posed by Burns (after a brief clip outlining Kennedy’s asserted waste in Louisiana’s Medicaid system), Dardenne did NOT challenge Kennedy’s assertion that DHH wastes, conservatively, $720 million a year in abuse of emergency room visits rather than instituting a Patient Navigator System similar to a Houston hospital:

 


Dardenne concurs with Treasurer Kennedy’s assessment of
(conservatively) $720 million in wasted DHH spending via ER abuses.
Interestingly, at the
2:20 mark, Kennedy flatly says that neither
Federal nor State law requires the treatment of NON-emergency aliments
just because someone shows up at the ER.  In contrast, at the
7:35 mark,
Dardenne flatly says that hospitals “have to treat anyone who arrives
at the emergency room.”

 

Regarding statutory dedications, the following video readily contrasts the sharply divergent views of Treasurer Kennedy versus those of Commissioner Dardenne, and Dardenne lambasts Kennedy for, as he characterizes it, “not being honest about our budget and instead politicians telling the people what they think they may want to hear.”


Kennedy & Dardenne outline sharply contrasting viewpoints on
statutory dedications and the level of savings that can be obtained by
removing their protection from potential cuts.

There are the contrasts, folks.  You’re free to make up your own minds on who may be right.

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