State officials to send warning to 40,000 Medicaid recipients

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - In what is being called an "unprecedented" move, The Louisiana State Health Department is warning tens of thousands of Louisianians that they may lose their health care coverage.

The move is a result of the state's budget crisis that now stands at nearly $700 million.

The governor's administration is preparing for the possibility that House-Bill 1 will becomes a reality. The bill is a plan to cut nearly $700 million from the state budget.

On Wednesday the commissioner of the division of administration, and the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health are holding a press conference.

They will be discussing how the state will be sending out notices to people they believe are at immediate risk of losing the coverage that pays for their care in a nursing home, group home or home-based services. The notices will start Thursday.

Some state officials have warned that the cuts could also close hospitals, nursing homes, and programs for doctors-in-training.

The Senate Finance Committee even heard testimony on the issue of reducing the number of people eligible for Medicaid on Monday.

The administration says it is an unprecedented step, but one they feel they have to take to give people enough time to make a plan in case they lose their coverage.

The people who rely on that coverage say they're stunned that the entire state has been put in this position.

"In my wildest dreams I cannot believe the state of Louisiana will put poor or vulnerable people on the streets and say only the wealthy qualify for nursing care," said Sister Ann Lecour, Chateau De Notre Dame. "I just can't believe it, and think the people of Louisiana have to stand up and say this is not what we want."

Some Republican lawmakers have called the letters being sent out a scare tactic,.but the governor's office said they're trying to be transparent about the threat the state faces.

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