Governor John Bel Edwards punched back against lawmakers who
criticized his decision to mail nursing home eviction warnings resulting from a
potential Medicaid cut, and who are stalling on approving the $648 million in
revenue needed to fund healthcare and TOPS.
“There are members of the legislature who are praying that
enough other members will have the courage that they lack, so that the revenue
passes and this hospital stays open, and everyone keeps their TOPS, but they
get to come home and take credit for that but say I didn’t vote for that
GOP legislators resisted efforts to renew any portion the
expiring revenue at the center of the fiscal cliff in a special session in
February, but Edwards says with a rebounding economy, they won’t need to renew
the full billion dollars.
“I don’t even look at it as raising taxes, the tax burden
can go down by $400 million comparing this year to next and we will adequately fund
all of these parties that we’re talking about.”
Edwards says the ramifications of budget cuts that would
close public-private partnership hospitals, formerly the Charity Hospital
System, would go deeper than just eliminating service to hundreds of thousands
of at risk patients.
“If we don’t have partner hospitals, we don’t get lease
payments. The very first thing that has to happen come July 1st the
revenue estimating conference is going to have to meet and downgrade the
forecast by another $168 million.”
Edwards says he now supports renewing a portion of the
expiring penny sales tax to close the budget gap.