A reader brought this column by Eric Zorn to my attention. It appeared in the Chicago Tribune.
The state of Louisiana is “reforming” hospice care for patients on Medicare. It will stop offering hospice care for many elderly people.
He cuts most where the needs are greatest. This could catapult him to national stardom. The prestigious Brookings Institution in DC recently invited him to discuss his historic efforts to privatize public education.
As the Shreveport Times described the situation:
“BATON ROUGE — The start of February brings an end to programs that care for some of the most vulnerable citizens of the state, those in the final days of their lives and children at risk for mental health problems, the latest casualties of Louisiana’s budget woes.
Gov. Bobby Jindal made the cuts in mid-December to help close a nearly $166 million deficit in the current fiscal year.
And the cuts are only likely to get worse. The governor and lawmakers will have to deal with another $1.2 billion budget gap for the fiscal year that begins July 1, in a poverty-troubled state where so many people look to the state for assistance….
Among the reductions announced in December, doctors and hospitals that care for the poor, disabled and elderly in the Medicaid program will be paid less. Dental benefits to pregnant women through Medicaid will be cut off. Additional cuts are falling on the LSU hospitals that care for the poor and uninsured in north Louisiana. Dollars for juvenile justice treatment programs are shrinking.
The deepest cuts to services were made in the health and social services departments.”
As a New Orleans journalist put it: “In effect, Huey Long’s mantra of “Share the Wealth” has been replaced by Jindal’s dogma of tax virginity and privatization. Where Long preached, “Every man a king,” Jindal now says, effectively, “You’re on your own, pal.””