House approves budget that Governor Edwards says he will not sign

April 19, 2018 - 8:48 pm
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(WWL.com) - The House narrowly passed a budget that would fund TOPS at 80% and maintain higher ed funding, but would implement deep cuts in healthcare funding, potentially ending public-private partnership hospitals that care for the poor. House Appropriations Chairman Republican Cameron Henry says the state cannot afford to maintain its current healthcare spending. 

“The growth at which Medicaid is expanding, at this rate we cannot attain. This is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. This is a math issue. We cannot attain it,” Henry said.

House GOP Chairman Lance Harris says the budget is the best they could do with the funds they have available.

“What we’re doing... and I want to remind the body, is that we’re dealing with the facts that we have today. We’re dealing with the levels of funding that the REC has projected today,” Harris said.

All but one Democrat voted against the budget. New Orleans Representative Garry Carter says if passed, the spending plan would kill people.

“What we’re doing... and I want to remind the body, is that we’re dealing with the facts that we have today. We’re dealing with the levels of funding that the REC has projected today,” Carter said.

House Democratic Chairman Robert Johnson went after legislators who voted yes on the proposed budget.

“If these cuts come through, it would be reasonable to expect the loss of life because people won’t have access to healthcare that they currently have,” Johnson said.

Governor John Bel Edwards has announced that if the spending plan reaches his desk, he will not sign it.

"The state is better than this, they deserve better than this," Edwards said.  

The proposed spending plan goes to the Senate Finance Committee who will meet Sunday. It’s possible the Senate may not even vote on a budget.

"There is no way to move that money around and make this budget one that is worthy of the people of Louisiana, so no the Senate can not fix this, it's just the unfortunate reality that we need a special session," Edwards said. 

 

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