The Medicaid Misery Tour organized by Louisiana Progress put a human face on the Medicaid budget cuts forced on the state by U.S. House Republicans (particularly Steve Scalise and Bill Cassidy) and allowed to have the force of law through Senator David Vitter’s consent.
The five-stop, 400+ miles tour allowed patients, community leaders, and legislators to talk about what access to the services at the behavioral health hospitals and the LSU hospitals that were stops on the tour.
The tour — from the site of New Orleans Adolescent Home (NOAH) to Central State Hospital in Pineville — highlighted the distance that New Orleans area residents will have to travel to visit relatives being treated at Central. Three years ago, those patients might have been housed at NOAH before they were moved across Lake Pontchartrain to Southeast Louisiana Hospital in Mandeville. That facility has been targeted for closure and some of the patients there will be moved to Pineville.
House Democratic Leader John Bel Edwards met the tour at Lallie Kemp Medical Center in Independence. Representative Regina Barrow met the tour at Earl K. Long Medical Center, as did East Baton Rouge Parish DPEC Chairwoman Dawn Collins. Their remarks were captured on video, which you can view by clicking on their respective names.