Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards used the nuclear option Thursday morning when he directed the state Health Department to send out tens of thousands of “eviction notices” to elderly and disabled Medicaid recipients currently living in nursing and group homes.
Edwards stated that unless new tax legislation can be passed before July 1, 2018, the existing state money used to take care of almost 37,000 Louisiana residents on Medicaid will dry up.
“Our hearts are breaking over the need to do this,” Health Secretary Rebekah Gee said Wednesday to the Associated Press. “However, we cannot provide services with no money to pay for them. We simply cannot.”
The state Health Department said that 80 percent of the state’s nursing home residents are in danger of being evicted.
State Republicans have criticized the governor’s decision to send out the eviction notices, calling it a “scare tactic” and “politically motivated”.
“It’s egregious in my personal opinion,” said Lance Harris, the state House GOP leader.
As to be expected, lawmakers from across the state have been inundated with phone calls and emails from constituents who are worried about the future of their loved ones.
Currently, the state of Louisiana is expected to bring in “$648 million less in general state tax dollars next year.” That shortage means that programs such as healthcare and education are in danger of being cut.
Gov. Edwards will call a special session on Congress later this month in an attempt to resolve the expected budget shortfall. The state Health Department stated they are currently trying to find an alternate source of funding, but they “weren’t optimistic.”