Louisiana is reportedly set to tell tens of thousands of elderly and disabled residents this week that they may lose Medicaid benefits in the coming months. The state Health Department is preparing to notify 37,000 people that due to state budget cuts eliminating four Medicaid programs, they could lose their health-care coverage, including beds in nursing homes. Louisiana’s chief budget officer, Jay Dardenne, told The New Orleans Times-Picayune that officials “tried to delay this as long as we possibly can.” “We can’t just afford to bury our heads in the sand,” Dardenne said. The state Senate has not yet voted on a budget, and there are other measures that could delay the cuts, including intervention from the federal government, according to the paper, but the state is required to send out the notices in advance. The proposed cuts, pushed by GOP House leaders, could result in most of the state’s nursing homes closing, eliminating thousands of jobs. The notifications themselves may also be financially detrimental to nursing homes, industry leaders told the Times-Picayune. And notifying residents of the proposed cuts will cost the state $50,000. Jim Tucker, a former Republican state lawmaker who runs a nursing home company, said that the notifications may cause some nursing home residents to die from the stress. “If those notices go out, they will kill people,” he said.
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