LA rebuffs Leavitt's health financing suggestions

Sure, the idea that Louisiana already has enough money to cover most low-income residents may sound good from the 50,000 foot view enjoyed by HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt. But down on the ground, things looked different to state legislators, who strongly disapprove of the idea of moving money from the state's Charity Hospital System into government-subsidized private health insurance. The legislators, who listened to Leavitt speak on Wednesday, aren't even willing to consider the idea unless Washington offers to pony up a fair amount of cash of its own. "We're being presented with an unworkable plan that we're not going to be able to implement, so it will look like we're failing," said state Senate's president Donald Hines. Legislators like Hines say such a plan will leave thousands of uninsured Louisiana residents with nowhere to go for outpatient and specialty care. But Leavitt continues to argue that the disasters the state has faced give it a chance to rebuild its outmoded charity care system, whose money largely comes from DSH Medicaid dollars.

To learn more about Leavitt's ideas:
- read this Times-Picayune piece