Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

While the candidates for GOP Party Chair are deluding themselves into thinking that they’re dazzling the base with their dubious “Look! I can Twitter!” accomplishments, Mark Krikorian over at NRO has his finger on the pulse:

With Republicans shut out of power, now is the time to take a new look at their approach to immigration, to develop a new and distinctive alternative to the majority party. In other areas, such as health care or the environment, such a reassessment might conceivably yield different policies than in the past. But on immigration, what is needed is not so much a reversal in specifics but a different framework within which to fit the specifics.

Not that anyone in the GOP has asked me, but is it too late to nominate Krikorian to be the next party chair?


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Times are tough, so Governor Bobby Jindal is tightening the collective Louisiana belt. There is a $342 Million shortfall in the state’s budget, so he’s taking away $118 Million from the state’s healthcare system. Trouble is, Louisiana already ranks 50th (yes, that’s last place) in health care according to AmericasHealthRankings.org.

Another $55 Million will be taken from the state’s public higher education system. This means that tuition will go up yet again for college students in Louisiana. The Pelican State’s colleges and universities already receive an F for affordability, according to Measuring Up: The National Report Card On Higher Education (of course, so do 48 other states).

I can’t blame the governor for doing what he has to do; after all, times are tough, especially in a state that has 25% of its citizens hooked up to a $7 Billion Medicaid health-support system. If he doesn’t cut funding, then he has to raise taxes, or (God forbid!) the state government has to become more efficient. That’s Economics 101. Still, this move is going to give his opponents plenty of debate ammunition to use against him should he run for president in 2012. He’s already admitted that Louisiana is treading water when it comes to health care, saying that “simply keeping the status quo is not an option. Our people deserve better than that. The health care system we’ve got today in Louisiana is not working to help the very people it’s designed to serve.” Now it appears that some mean economic riptides aren’t even going to let him do that.

Jindal is certainly a forward-thinking, conservative reformer, if there is such a thing these days. If he can turn things around in Louisiana, he’ll certainly gain some major credibility for a run at the White House. I’m not too sure, however, that anyone would be able to turn around Louisiana’s health and higher-education systems.

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On Friday, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal received a preliminary approval to move ahead with his health care plan. In a “near-unanimous vote,” the state legislature approved his application for a federal waiver of certain Medicaid rules. If Uncle Sam allows, Jindal’s plan will set up “managed care networks as a pilot program in four parts of the state: the New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and Shreveport areas.” The article continues,

About 380,000 low-income residents in Medicaid, mostly children, would be steered into the managed care networks that state Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine said he hopes would begin operating by the end of 2010.

The networks would be run by private management companies, like insurers, that would contract with the state and negotiate payment prices with health providers. The managed care plans could vary the benefit packages and care received by Medicaid recipients.

Supporters said the plan would better coordinate care for Medicaid recipients, improve health outcomes by catching and treating chronic diseases earlier, and help rein in rising costs due to Medicaid fraud and overuse of expensive emergency room care.

Some will bemoan the partial privatization of a critical public health initiative, and indeed the present correspondent does not endorse privatization for its own sake. But compared to countries of similar stature, our health care industry is terribly inefficient. A little more competition and innovation might be critical by-products of this small experiment.

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