The Jindal administration told legislators Wednesday that three state prisons need to be sold to stave off cuts in health-care programs for the poor.
Part of the governor’s proposed $24.9 billion state operating budget hinges on using $86 million from the prison sales to fund the state’s Medicaid program. Medicaid uses state and federal funding to provide health coverage to the poor. More than a million of the state’s 4.5 million residents rely on Medicaid for their medical care.
Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater told members of the Louisiana House Committee on Appropriations that they can back the prison sales or cut the budget. Rainwater said the money from the sales will help maintain payment levels for doctors, hospitals and other Medicaid health care providers. “Our plan was to mitigate cuts to providers by selling these prisons,” Rainwater said.