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State Health Department sending notices to nearly 40,000 Medicaid recipients

Nursing home fears before Medicaid cuts WVUE Nursing home fears before Medicaid cuts WVUE
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

The State Health Department is sending out notices Thursday to nearly 40,000 Medicaid recipients across Louisiana.

Those recipients are at risk of losing their coverage because of proposed cuts by state lawmakers.

At a press conference Wednesday, the head of the state department of health said she had no choice but to begin notifying the elderly and disabled that they may lose their medicaid coverage.

The Republican-led house approved a budget for next year that cuts the state health department by over $500 million dollars.

The department would also lose federal matching dollars,making the actual impact of the cuts nearly $2 billion dollars.

On June 30 this year's budget expires, and also expiring is a portion of the state's sales tax, creating that fiscal cliff lawmakers have been debating for years.

If the proposed budget takes effect, those cuts to Medicaid would start July 1. This will give families seven weeks to find other coverage if they started Thursday.

State officials said that is why they are sending the notices out, but? Republicans backing the budget plan say the letters are just a political scare tactic.

FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman said the cuts could become reality. 

"We talk about budget cuts so often sometimes it becomes this theoretical thing people don't feel in their pocketbooks," Sherman said. "This letter is a manifestation of the governor and his administration trying to make people understand the effect of these cuts, so there is certainly a political angle of it .Make no mistake, these cuts are real unless the legislature reconvenes to come up with a new budget."

The governor has called for lawmakers to end the current session so that he can call another special session to deal with the budget.

Lawmakers aren't sure if that will work since all the previous special sessions have ended in failure.

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