Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: A Potential State and Federal Medicaid Disaster

Category: Lagniappe - a little extra

All this year Louisiana has watched from week to week as we negotiated medicaid cuts. This was brought on when the Federal Government said they would no longer give us the same huge matching funds as the previous years. We are now going to have to live within a much lower budget, 1.3 billion dollars less. This will make it harder for us to get kids with serious psychiatric problems cared for, particularly as outpatients. It will mean payment cut backs to most doctors around the state who work with large numbers of indigent patients. It will mean scrapping to get adequate pay to keep hospitals and clinics with large indigent populations

This is the story at present in Louisiana. Though we have a unique situation here the general story is similar nationwide. Congress, on October 1, may cut back on over all budgets for both Medicaid and Medicare in a drastic way. I am no expert on Medicare, but I have certainly treated thousands of Medicaid patients and see the difficulty they have accessing good regular care. I hope and pray that our national and state legislators consider the ramifications of major Medicaid and Medicare cuts carefully before they start slashing. I hate to see a bad situation get even worse.

The American Academy of Pediatrics for the past 10 years has worked hard to promote an agenda they call " The Children's First Plan".  This would put all kids on an even level as far as receiving basic preventive health care. I think in a society as wealthy as ours, this is not too much to expect. I hope and pray that all of us in
a position to influence legislators will ask them to think
carefully before they take away the already thin support system in place for these indigent children. 

Immediate savings from cuts to Medicaid may end up costing a whole lot more in the long run. We must get all kids properly immunized. We must prevent long term complications from all treatable conditions. If we're wise, we will take good care of all our nation's kids for a better future for America.

I for one will be actively lobbying our legislators and working on a state and national level to fight for poor children so that they can receive basic preventive and on-going health care. I hope you agree with my philosophy. If you do, please get involved. Lets all make a difference.