High costs and low-quality care have defined the state of Louisiana's system of charity hospitals, established during the Huey Long era to serve the medical needs of low-income citizens. Now, as the Associated Press's Melinda Deslatte reports, Republican governor Bobby Jindal is making the case that his privatization reforms are a successful conservative alternative for providing health care services to those in need:
Shortened emergency room waits and an eliminated prescription backlog in Baton Rouge. A re-established gynecology clinic in Lake Charles. The reopening of operating rooms in New Orleans and an orthopedic clinic in Lafayette that were previously shuttered by budget cuts.
Those are among the examples of health care changes highlighted by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, seeking to quell criticism as the last pieces are put in place for the privatization of Louisiana's charity hospital system.
The governor and top cabinet leaders say the first outsourcing deals, rolled out in April and June, have improved services for the poor and uninsured and boosted medical training for students, as private health providers have taken over the services previously run by LSU.
"We're confident that this has been the right solution for Louisiana," Jindal's health secretary, Kathy Kliebert, told lawmakers....
"Our charity hospital did tremendous work for decades, but we recognized we needed to change the way we operate," Jindal said.
Jindal and Kliebert say the privatization deals are giving the uninsured better access to specialty services, lessened wait times and expanded care offerings, replacing weekslong waits for prescriptions to be filled and months-long delays for needed surgeries.
Read the whole thing here.
In an email, a Republican source close to Jindal highlights the reforms in Louisiana as the "opposite of Obamacare."