WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate health-care bill released Wednesday contains at least $100 million to plug an upcoming financial loss in Louisiana Medicaid health insurance for the poor. U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu — whose vote is viewed as crucial to passage of the legislation —pushed for the money, which was provided in the bill offered by its author, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada.
Though the provision in the bill was estimated by the Congressional Budget Office at $100 million, state Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine said the state needs about $500 million.
“I’m glad the language is in the bill as it is at least a recognition of our problem,” Levine said. “But we have more work to do. I appreciate Sen. Landrieu’s help, and we are continuing to work with her.” Reid and Landrieu representatives were quick to say Thursday that the money is not an attempt to gain Landrieu’s vote on the bill.