Lawmakers would be able to cancel the Jindal administration’s revamped health-care delivery system for the poor under a bill that cleared the House on Monday.
The House voted 100-0 for the measure after altering it to include a “sunset” provision that would require review and potential termination of the program when its contract would be up for renewal in 2014.
Senate Bill 207, sponsored by state Sen. Willie Mount, D-Lake Charles, goes back to the Senate for concurrence in the House change.
The legislation deals with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s “coordinated care network” program scheduled to be phased in during the next year starting in the New Orleans area.
Lawmakers have complained Jindal circumvented the Legislature, which had rejected the program, then tried to embark on the nearly $3 billion program using “emergency rules.”
The authorization came in an amendment slipped into a voluminous set of “technical” changes to the state budget bill.
Under the plan, private insurance companies, or other third party entities, would be responsible for the care of two-thirds of the state’s 1.2 million Medicaid recipients, mainly children.
The insurers, or third-party entities, would develop health-care networks of physicians, hospitals and others to provide patient care under either a pre-paid or shared-risk model.
Taxpayers essentially would be paying insurance premiums for Medicaid recipients.
As the bill hit the House floor, members for the Legislature’s money or health-care committees could have halted the “coordinate care network” program at the time contracts were up for renewal.
The House rejected an attempt to require both panels to vote to cancel the program when 37 representatives voted for the change, but 63 voted against it.
State Rep. Kay Katz, R-Monroe, said one committee should not be allowed to decide whether a program affecting $3 billion of taxpayer health-care dollars should continue.
After Katz’s amendment failed, state Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, offered — then the House approved without objection — the “sunset” provision.
Geymann said Mount’s legislation started out with the “sunset” provision which allows the full Legislature to review the program to see if it’s working.
He said Mount changed it to allow the committees to act in a compromise with administration opponents.
“From the discussion, the will of this body is to have more oversight,” said Geymann, moving the legislation to its original form.
Geymann said the administration set a three-year contract term. If it had been a five-year term, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee would have had to approve contracts of that size, he said.
House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Terrytown, urged his House colleagues to support the change.
“It’s important in this process that the Legislature maintain oversight,” he said.
“After three years the Legislature evaluates it” from a financial viability standpoint, how it is working in the delivery of health care as well as whether it’s working for physicians and hospitals providing that care, Tucker said.
“It’s too important. The ramifications are too large … to not allow for the Legislature to have involvement,” state Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, said.