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Senator Jack Donahue Newsletter - WELL, IT IS OVER PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, June 30 2009 - 2:29 pm

To My Supporters and Friends:

The session came to an abrupt end at 6:00pm on Thursday June 25, 2009 – the end is called “Sine Die”.  I say abrupt because a lot of bills were still under consideration but could not be brought to the floor for discussion.  At 6pm IT IS OVER.

I will publish a news piece in a couple of weeks to go over some details but here are a couple of highlights of this session:

Higher Education

After much anguish the Legislature restored $106 million of the $219 million in cuts proposed by the Governor to Post Secondary Education.  There is general agreement on this restoration but almost all agree it must be tied to restructuring/resizing of the system. The funding to Higher Education was given to help them transition to a smaller more efficient system.  My hope is that they understand that the legislature cannot and will not continue to find money to bail them out.

Look to HB 794 as the mechanism to accomplish the needed change.

Healthcare

The total cut to healthcare was a staggering $440 million.  The Legislature restored about $40 million in funding to healthcare and when you add back the over 3:1 federal match, it is significant amount of money.  The groups that are really getting hurt are our hospitals and developmental centers.  Particularly affected are the institutions that have a high Medicaid census. That is why the developmental centers are hurt so badly by these across-the-board cuts.  Many receive Medicaid reimbursement for 97% of their patients.  When provider rates are cut, as they now have been, the people who need help the most, the most vulnerable in our state, are hit the hardest.
Additionally, many people with developmental disabilities are getting little or no help from the state.  The help comes in the form of NOW Wavier slots being filled.  There are over 10,000 people on the waiting list for help.  The situation is complicated and the problem is huge, but I feel there are answers within the system itself.  We are just beginning to look at solutions to these problems.

The significant factor to remember is that there is truly less money to spend, and we all must realize that the cuts this year are real and will also be real in future years.  

I am back in the office and trying to pay attention to my business.  My partners Bob, Maura and John have done a wonderful job in my absence.

Let me know if I can help you and thank you for all your support.

Jack Donahue
State Senator
Louisiana District 11