Pinsonat: LSU healthcare no sweet charity, now Jindal and Obamacare?

Health reformLouisiana's unhealthy healthcare system has taken on more financial strain with the threats of severe healthcare hits, especially to those most in need.  Not only was funding cut by the Louisiana legislature, but in recent weeks, the federal government, as part of the Restore Act, has taken steps that could further cripple the state's delivery system by substantially reducing its portion of medicaid money for Louisiana.  All of this is occuring as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is in the spotlight for Romney's Vice President.


The reductions are hurting LSU Health care and the charity hospital model.  

Recently, Bayoubuzz forward the following questions below to political analyst and pollster, Bernie Pinsonat, to discuss the meaning and the impact of these cuts upon Louisiana and upon Governor Bobby Jindal:   

What does the healthcare cuts mean to state? 

The size of these cuts is definitely dramatic and will have an impact on health care services throughout Louisiana. The possibility of these cuts were well known by the LSU System, as usual no advance planning was done just in case these cuts became a reality. Now that this reduction of dollars from the Feds is a certainty, LSU is forced to make huge reductions, and as mentioned above, with no advanced planning. The severity of these cuts and their impact on the uninsured depends on how they are managed by the LSU System. LSU officials are looking at new models that must deliver health care with a lot less money. Most of us thought LSU should never have accepted the Charity Hospital System into the LSU system. Unless you thought Louisiana finances were going to be increasing year after year (that scenario has never existed in Louisiana) why would you take on this huge cash cow? Allowing deficits year after year has been the norm for the Charity Hospital System and the LSU Board, fortunately for us tax payers, this changed recently when the Jindal Administration finally ordered Charity to operate within its budget. Outdated and antiquated are the most common terms used to describe the present Charity Hospital System. The LSU Board has an opportunity to create a new model that can operate on fewer dollars and will form partnerships with community hospitals where possible. After all, our community hospitals have been serving the Medicaid population throughout Louisiana for the last ten years or so. About eighty five percent now get treated at your community hospital, not at a charity hospital. Most realize Louisiana has been running a dual track health care system, only in Louisiana does this occur. Educating the tens of thousands of kids who attend LSU to get a diploma is supposed to be the main purpose of the LSU Board– maybe the LSU Board will also join in this effort and shed any entity it oversees that is not self-supporting! The main campus should not lose a dime to fund other ventures that run deficits. In case any LSU Board member is not aware – taking dollars away from the main campus is not popular with anyone! 

Will healthcare cuts impact Jindal’s VP chances?

The impact of these cuts will not be known for months. The selection of a V P for the Romney campaign will come before the final chapter is written on the outcome of these cuts. If Governor Jindal is chosen as Romney’s running mate, down the road these cuts could become an embarrassment if reductions turn out to be the disaster democrats are predicting. This area of government is supposed to be one of Jindal’s strengths. Fixing our outdated Charity System should have been accomplished thirty years ago! Governor Jindal knows a lot more about this subject than his critics – I would not bet against him on this subject!  Since he is the governor who si acutely aware of the impact from these cuts, he is not going to make these cuts in the next few weeks. It is not in his political nor the state's interest to do so.  

Can the charity hospital system survive?

I sure hope not! Anyone looking at the new health care legislation could not possibly believe our present system would survive? After all, the biggest change would be to insure the uninsured. With insurance, these patients would join the Medicaid population and seek treatment in their local community hospital. They would of course be covered by a national insurance program that allows them to seek medical advice and treatment from a physician. L S U’s charity system would be out of business. If the so-called Obama Care is not eventually enacted – a simple reality check tells us we cannot afford the present charity hospital system. If we continue with this outdated charity system, the other system, our community hospitals - the one that treats the Medicaid population, cannot survive! They literally receive pennies on the dollar for treating these Medicaid patients from the state. If nothing is done to create a new system that recognizes and implements new models that merges health care dollars available for charity and community hospitals; both are destined to be dire financial problems that will cripple both systems.

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