Healthcare advocates protest Jindal's cuts - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Healthcare advocates protest Jindal's cuts

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By Fred Childers - bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -   After a brief pep talk, Ark-La-Tex healthcare providers, advocates, and the disabled headed for the state capitol in Baton Rouge.

They boarded several charter busses to deliver a message to Governor Bobby Jindal.

The message: We do not appreciate him vetoing House Bill 1 and cutting services.

Because of a 1.3 billion state revenue shortfall, advocates say Jindal is cutting their funding, which allows the disabled to function in their own homes.

"It might have to cut down on the number of hours per week that i receive someone to come in and help me with my activities of daily living," said Duane Eberb, a disabled person who is making the trip along with hundreds of others.

"They want to be working, they want to be living in their own homes, they want to be doing what everybody else does, they want to be productive citizens," said a representative for ARC.

 Jindal vows to veto house bill 1, which would reportedly restore the deep cuts, and has said Louisiana must learn to do more with less.

But for them, less is not an option, and that's why advocates from all over the state are making the same trip to Baton Rouge.

Healthcare providers say the cuts which would result in about a million dollars would also result in lay offs.

Governor Jindal's office has responded to the criticism, saying that his opposition parts of House Bill 1 will help the healthcare industry.  In an email to News 12 Melissa Sellers, the Communications Director for the Office of the Governor wrote, "The Governor announced last Monday that he was freeing up around $120 million in funding for higher education, health care, and other state priorities by vetoing sections of HB 1 that were tied to legislation that would have failed in the House of Representatives. This funding would have been lost without the Governor's action to free it from a bill bound for defeat. The Governor stressed his support for aiding higher education and health care priorities again this morning and said there is now a total of $200 million available to aid these critical areas. He also said DHH Secretary Alan Levine is working with legislators to recommend how they can add funding to health care programs, for example Medicaid outlier funding for hospitals and funding for group homes for the disabled, if they choose to do that."

This year's session will end on Thursday.

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