Dying Poor People & Jindal’s Priorities
Not sure how this is going to sound to the rest of America when Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal runs for president:
Cuts to hospice care announced by state officials last week are deeper than originally portrayed, eliminating hospice treatment for all Medicaid recipients starting in February, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals said Wednesday. In announcing the reductions to hospice care, which aims to make dying people more comfortable in the last six months of their lives, Jindal administration officials said the cutbacks would force people on Medicaid to seek the service in a nursing home. But the change actually means the state is eliminating all hospice care – both at home and in nursing facilities — to people covered by Medicaid.
Merry Christmas, Poors! More:
Legislators at a Friday hearing to discuss the $165.5 million in reductions and other budget fixes were especially alarmed by the hospice cuts. The cuts are needed because a revenue shortfall has thrown the the state’s budget out of whack. The budget must be balanced by the time the fiscal year ends on June 30.
If the state doesn’t have the money, it doesn’t have the money — and we in Louisiana are constitutionally required to balance our state budget. But not enough money to pay for hospice care for the poor? Really? What kind of state are we?
We are the kind of state that provides at least $1.79 billion annually in tax breaks and incentives to business. We are the kind of state that won’t cut or scale back those, even a little bit, but will cut $1.1 million annually to provide minimal end-of-life care for 5,800 poor Louisianians.
Such are the priorities of our presidential hopeful Republican governor and our GOP-run state government, it appears. I believe that our governor is sincere when he openly and enthusiastically talks about his Christian faith, which makes it all the more frustrating to see that business and industry are the Chosen People in this state. more important to take even more away from the poorest of the poor than to compel the well-off to give up the least tax break. Gov. Jindal said in a 2011 Christianity Today interview:
I think that it’s absolutely critical to get the economy growing without raising taxes or increasing the deficit. I’m also proud to belong to a party that stands for the sanctity of human life and traditional marriage. Those values remain important during good and bad economic times.
“Sanctity of life”? With Medicaid-funded hospice, we’re talking about helping terminally ill poor people die with dignity. What kind of “sanctity of life” ethic values maintaining state tax breaks for wealthy corporations over hospice care for the poor?
Jindal supporters, what am I missing here? Help me out.
[Via The Mighty Favog.]