Health dept.: Medicaid expansion could lessen, not stop cuts


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The chief financial officer of Louisiana’s health department says Medicaid expansion could save the state $124 million next year to help lessen the blow of budget cuts.

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration says Louisiana could take advantage of enhanced federal financing to produce savings if it expands Medicaid to cover the working poor.

But even with those savings, Jeff Reynolds told a House budget committee Tuesday the Department of Health and Hospitals still faces deep reductions that could shutter several privatized LSU hospitals.

Reynolds says the New Orleans and Shreveport safety-net hospitals would be largely protected, to keep the medical schools operating.

The other hospitals would be at risk of closure, under worst-case scenarios for the financial year that begins July 1, when Louisiana has a $750 million budget gap.