Reader: Healthcare cuts would be devastating

‘Hoppy ANT-iversary’ Audubon Insectarium
June 9, 2009
Stephen "Joe" Andras
June 11, 2009

Dear Editor:

Hospitals are facing major cuts this legislative session that would be devastating for their patients, their employees and our communities. These cuts could lead to significant layoffs throughout the state, which would limit access to vital healthcare services.

The burden of these proposed reductions, coupled with the underpayments hospitals currently receive from the state for Medicaid services, will lead to higher healthcare costs for businesses and individuals. We all know what that means – those with health insurance and businesses that provide health insurance have to pay even higher healthcare premiums to cover the cost of individuals who do not have insurance.

Hospitals in Louisiana are committed to working with members of the Legislature on solutions to this financial crisis so that every citizen in the state has access to quality healthcare. The Louisiana Hospital Association and its members would like to thank Senate President Joel Chaisson (D-Destrehan) and the Senate Finance Committee, led by Chairman Sen. Mike Michot (R-Lafayette), for taking the first step in restoring Medicaid cuts in HB 1 for all providers, including hospitals.

We encourage citizens to call their senators at (225) 342-2040 and their representatives at (225) 342-0617 and ask them to fully restore the cuts to hospitals and protect critical healthcare services and jobs for your community.

John A. Matessino,

President & CEO, Louisiana Hospital Association

Readers tale a wake-up warning for south La.

Dear Editor:

The year is 2085. A young man sits on the porch visiting with his great-grandpa overlooking the Gulf of Mexico from their beachfront house just off Louisiana Highway 1 in what was once Larose.

“Great-grandpa,” the boy says, “what lessons were learned after the hurricane named Quatrain?”

The old man looks over the sea’s rolling waves, feeling the breeze and finally says in a crackling voice of age, “Son, before that storm, when people needed to do something, they found a way to do it. My dad told me stories of hurricanes Betsy and Camille. He said they just picked up the pieces and started to rebuild their lives and the houses.

“National Guard came in to the stop the looters, at least the ones that got away from the guns of the landowners,” the man continued. “There were no such things as building codes. Matter of fact, the old house I live in was built before codes. It has gone through the 1947, 1957, 1965, 1969, 2005 and 2008 storms.

“Those code houses, heck, they’ve been rebuilt a bunch of times,” he said.

“Another thing… we waited in line for an ice bucket, never waited for a handout credit card or a check,” the sage great-grandfather continued. “If we needed a loaf of bread, it was made from flour and other stuff.

“Since Katrina, the government came in, called themselves FEMA and handed out tons of money. Another hurricane came around and those FEMA people wanted to take money from you. They saw to it that flood insurance doubled and tripled and then they did not want to build our levees.

“That’s the reason we’re looking at the Gulf now,” he said. “Once, we had to drive 50 more miles south to get to the Gulf.

“Those FEMA people came down from Washington and made good, hard-working people into a bunch of handout recipients. Instead of working to get what they need, people just put their hand out and cry on TV.

“Another thing we got was a bunch of college folks to study the levees and what we called coastal restoration. They did such a great job of studying that they are still studying,” the man said. “I thought maybe they would have enough study and a little more work; well, so much for thinking, seems that has long gone away as well.”

Forrest Travirca III,