HARRIS: Nursing Home Eviction Letters Are Unprecedented, Irresponsible And Political

Editor’s Note: A guest post from Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria), chair of the Louisiana House Republican Delegation, in the wake of this week’s scare-tactic eviction letters to senior citizens on Medicaid amid the state’s budget debate.

The decision by the Governor to prematurely send eviction notices to the elderly population in Louisiana was an unprecedented, irresponsible political move.

We’re not even halfway through the process. The Senate still has the bill – then it has to come back to the House for concurrence and potentially conference committee. Never in the history of this state have these types of actions been taken at this step in the process.

It’s an unnecessary political scare tactic done to intimidate and frighten the most vulnerable into believing they will be kicked out on the street if the Governor doesn’t get everything he wants.

This has been a consistent theme from this administration. The sky is always falling and more taxes is always the answer.

If the budget does not change at all, the Louisiana Department of Health is funded at more than $12 billion this year. Over 1 billion dollars per month. That’s more than 2017. In 2016 it was $9.5 billion. That means the LDH has $2.5 billion more than they did two years ago. Where is the money going?

The Legislature appropriates the money and the governor prioritizes it. He is prioritizing Medicaid expansion, at the cost over $3 billion to Louisiana taxpayers. More specifically, by their own words, they are adding tens of thousands of unqualified, work capable, able bodied individuals to our Medicaid rolls. By 2019, 41% of our population will be on Medicaid. That’s what we’re prioritizing.

The failed policies of this administration have led to Louisiana posting the worst economic performance among all 50 states in 2017. The state’s economy contracted by 0.2 percent, getting smaller for the second straight year. You cannot continue to grow the size of government and expect the taxpayers and job creators to pick up the bill.

To say that the actions of this administration were premature would be putting it lightly. Since Day 1, he has acted in haste with the purpose of pushing an agenda to unsustainably grow the size of state government.

Just this year, we’ve seen our “fiscal cliff” fall from $1.5 billion to $495 million, so far. If we would have listened to the Governor then, we would have prematurely extracted over half a billion dollars in unnecessary taxes from the people of this state.

The Senate is actively working on HB1. Our goal is to complete the Finance hearing process and send the budget back to the House for concurrence.

We will continue to work this process in spite of the eviction letters and other political games being played by this administration.

This is a message not only to seniors in Louisiana, but to every taxpayer: Don’t fall victim to these premature scare tactics by this administration. We will continue to work through the process and work to send a responsible budget back to the House.

Even if the budget stands as is, and the Governor chooses to prioritize Medicaid expansion over seniors, CMS still has to approve it on a national level. It would be unheard of for that to happen.

It won’t happen. And it’s a shame this governor is doing everything he can to frighten the people of this state into supporting taxes we can’t afford and don’t need.

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