Friday, November 02, 2012

For Mitt Romney's Health Plan, Look to Gov. Jindal

Want to know how Mitt Romney would fix America's healthcare problem?  Just look to how Gov. Bobby Jindal is reforming healthcare in Louisiana: by eliminating it.  If you think I am kidding, look at the Governor's travel schedule.  Louisianians already know that Jindal spends more time with Romney and raising money for him than he does at the state capitol.  Who else would Romney look to for advice other than the Republican-proclaimed healthcare guru?

Every time Jindal and his band of suck-up, "whatever you say, boss" state healthcare administrators have reassured us they are only cutting healthcare costs without sacrificing services, it has turned out to be a boldface lie.  Each time, they and Jindal have known exactly what the plan was all along, then proceeded to tell the public the exact opposite.  

It all started with mental health. Three years ago, the state's Medical Director clearly stated their intent to eliminate inpatient psych services for youths.   Remember New Orleans Adolescent Hospital? Remember how all those beds in New Orleans were moved to the northshore?  Isn't it convenient how NOAH was sold earlier this year just before the state decided publicly announced that Southeast Louisiana Hospital was closing and that those "psych beds" would be relocated back to the southshore?  I put "psych beds" in quotes because even though the state has already moved the patients out of Southeast Louisiana Hospital, it has yet to even identify where those "beds" will ultimately physically exist, which means they don't exist. And they likely never will.  Just like those more abundant outpatient services to replace the shuttered hospital units don't exist -- and in many cases never did. 

Using the loss of federal Medicaid funding as an excuse for decimating the LSU system is, in my estimation, Jindal and Greenstein being less than totally honest, to put it charitably.  The trip down that road has been underway since last summer when Jindal single-handedly and against the will of the legislature, and therefore that of the people, CHOSE to eliminate about $24 million in federal healthcare funds when he CHOSE to veto the renewal of the 4-cent cigarette tax.  The trip continued with the privatization of Medicaid with his brainchild the Bayou Health Program and with giving control of mental health services to the private insurer Magellan which slashed reimbursement rates to providers 30-40% before Jindal even learned of the federal Medicaid funding cuts, which of course led to even deeper cuts.

The latest outcry, which will of course be ignored by Jindal, is against his cuts to the LSU system that stand to cripple the training of future doctors.  Even his handpicked henchmen on LSU's Board of Supervisors weren't aware of the extent of Jindal's destructive plans:
"The shortage came as a surprise to members of the LSU Board of Supervisors, who recently approved a plan to cut $150 million out of operations of seven LSU hospitals in south Louisiana." -The Advocate 10/29/2012
Oh wait. Except they were lying about not knowing.  An article from six days earlier titled, "Medical Plan Caught Up in Cuts to LSU," noted:
"...the LSU budget cuts could jeopardize training programs’ accreditations and standards, threatening medical education in Louisiana and chasing away medical students needed to treat patients in a state that already has issues about access to health care and doctor shortages in rural areas.  LSU leaders and the governor’s health secretary, Bruce Greenstein, say they’re keeping all of that in mind and have graduate medical education at the forefront of their planning." -The Advocate, 10/23/2012
How are you surprised to learn of something you promised a week ago to keep in the forefront of your mind?  Seems to me that Jindal and his yes-men are lying about saving medical education too.  Why would they if they're getting rid of the places those doctors would practice?  

So if you're down with that, then by all means, cast your vote for Romney and roll out the welcome mat for incoming Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services & new Cabinet member Gov. Bobby Jindal.


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