A measure that would close the Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville is a step closer to final legislative approval. A House committee voted on a plan to shutter the LSU run hospital and have uninsured and poor residents receive care at two nearby private hospitals. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says it will lead to improved health care.
"What's right for the patient in central Louisiana is to close HPL, let's go about the business of providing the best care available to our constituents there,"Harris said.
The House Health and Welfare committee vote 10-8 in favor of the privatiziation plan supported by Governor Jindal. One of the opponents, Marksville Representative Robert Johnson, provided the committee with stories on how patients can't afford care under this partnership with private health care providers.
"Patsy Vanderbilt went to get a mammogram at one of the clinics, was asked to pay a co-pay of $240. She's on disability, she can't afford a $240 co-pay."
Johnson argued this new hospital privatization plan will not lead to better health care for poor and uninsured patients.
"This deal has nothing to do with patients, but it's about profits. If it was about patients then this state would have taken a harder look at the Affordable Care Act, or taken a harder look at expanding Medicaid."
Two other hospitals have already closed as a result of Governor Jindal's push to privatize the LSU hospitals. One of them was in Lake Charles and House Speaker Chuck Kleckley says it has worked well for the residents in his district.
"The legacy of this southwest Louisiana delegation will be that partnership...and that partnership is a huge success."
The measure heads to the full house for final legislative approval.