COLUMNS

I want to be healthy and then work

DeRon Talley, Editor @DeRonTalley
DeRon Talley

While Governor Bobby Jindal claims to be traveling the country and world soliciting jobs to come to Louisiana, his Department of Health and Hospitals is playing Russian roulette with our health care. We’ve seen millions spent and invested here for industry-based jobs and opportunities in the past years, but right under our noses he’s axing many of our health services and opportunities. Just in the past week we’ve heard news of the Baton Rouge General Mid City ER would close because Bobby Jindal refused to expand Medicaid.

Since 2009, Jindal has reduced medical and mental services and the excuse he gives is to save cash. Well what about the folks who don’t have the cash upfront to even consider saving? Now we find many hospitals are scrambling to find the funds to care for their patients. Just in Baton Rouge with the closure of Earl K. Long Hospital, Baton Rouge General Hospital—Mid City received a flock of uninsured patients and could no longer afford to provide services to those who showed up to their Emergency Room. And finally, the Baton Rouge General Board of Directors voted to close down the Emergency Room in their Mid City location. Realizing they had a serious PR disaster on their hands, Jindal’s Department of Health and Hospitals found $18 million to keep Baton Rouge General’s Emergency Room open through 2015.

Jindal’s Department of Health and Hospitals refused to say where they are finding the $18 million. But what program will Jindal ax in order to fund Baton Rouge General’s ER? Our state borrowed $24 million to balance this year’s budget, but Jindal’s Department of Health and Hospitals can shake the money tree and find $18 million – or is that fruit beared from the many trips across the country? The numbers don’t add up, but we can count on one thing: No matter what the Jindal administration decides to cut, the hardworking citizens are the ones that suffer. And these cuts won’t heal unless we expand Medicaid.

Jindal bashes ObamaCare and bashes anything that could essentially help the common workingman. But Medicaid should be a no-brainer, at least for Jindal with it not being an Obama initiative. In the three years the State Legislature and Governor decided against expanding Medicaid, its expansion would have granted coverage to 242,150 Louisianians, according to Louisiana Progress Action. Also, Louisiana would gain around $2.3 billion in revenue from the federal government by 2022 – you won’t hear about that though from the Jindal administration.  If Louisiana expanded Medicaid, our state revenue would increase by $532 million, which would be almost half of what is needed to fix our $1.2 billion budget shortfall this year.

It’s time for Bobby Jindal to stop saying he’s looking to bring jobs and money to this state. It seems for every industry-based job he brings he rids of a health facility, or cuts some education. It’s either you’re here for us, the people, for our growth and development or not. Don’t say you want us to have good jobs and bring industry but if we get sick in the industry we can’t get care because you won’t support it.

I’m for health and education, those two will allow me to have an opportunity to get a good job.

Blessings