Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bayou Health audit shows lack of transparency; 60 Minutes on the gap left by Medicaid refusals; California upping their film credits; Beam: Legislators were “taken for a ride”

Bayou Health audit shows lack of transparency
When Gov. Bobby Jindal signed Act 212 into law last year, there was widespread hope that citizens would soon have the tools needed to see whether the state’s experiment in Medicaid managed care was saving money and improving health outcomes, as the administration had promised. The new law required the Department of Health and Hospitals to submit a report each year to the Legislature about the new Bayou Health program known as the Bayou Health Transparency Report. But an audit released this morning found that the state did little to verify the data submitted by insurance companies, and did not provide data to judge how the private managed care plans performed compared to traditional Medicaid.

Perhaps most damaging, the report said DHH made “global assertions about Bayou Health cost savings and improved outcomes that were not required by Act 212, but support was not provided for these assertions.” In other words, we still really have no idea – after almost three years – if Bayou Health is working or not.

The Advocate’s take on the audit is here.


60 Minutes on the gap left by Medicaid refusals
What becomes of the 6.7 million people left without health coverage in the 24 states (including Louisiana) that refused to expand Medicaid? The CBS News program 60 Minutes had a moving story from the heart of Appalachia, which could easily have been set in Louisiana or any of the other (mostly Southern) states where the working poor have no way to access life-saving medications or get treatment for chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes. It tells the story through a group of health care providers who navigate the hills of Southern Virginia in an aging Winnebago, trying to fill the coverage gaps left by the refusal to extend health coverage.

The real-world implications of expanding health coverage should be foremost in the minds of policymakers as they comb through conflicting reports about the effects of the Affordable Care Act, which were detailed in a Monday editorial by The Advocate.


California upping their film credits
Tired of losing film productions to Louisiana and other states that lavish them with taxpayer subsidies, California is considering legislation to quadruple the value of that state’s film credits to $400 million per year, the Los Angeles Times reports. But unlike Louisiana, where film credits work as an open-ended entitlement program, the California credits would still be subject to an annual cap. That, in turn, would give California policymakers some certainty about costs that does not exist in Louisiana.


Beam: Legislators were “taken for a ride”
The inimitable Jim Beam of the Lake Charles American-Press says lawmakers were “taken advantage of by some of their colleagues” during the waning moments of the legislative session when they approved a $30,000 per year retirement boost for State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson and agreed to raise $53 million per year from motorists through higher fees on uninsured drivers.

“Now, you know why Mark Twain is considered a great humorist. In Louisiana, at least, it’s really true that ‘no man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.’”


Number of the Day
67 –
Percent of sections in the Bayou Health Transparency Report by the Department of Health and Hospitals that contained mathematical errors. (Source: Louisiana Legislative Auditor)