The Legislature told Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday that it wants to be able to cancel his new health-care delivery system for the poor if it’s not working.
The demand came as the state Senate gave final legislative approval to Senate Bill 207, which would require legislative review of the program and allow termination of contracts when they are up for renewal in 2014.
Now it’s up to Jindal whether he wants that much legislative involvement in the $3 billion health-care experiment.
Later Tuesday, Jindal said he is pleased that funding to start the new health program has been approved. He said he would review other legislation related to it.
SB207 sponsor state Sen. Willie Mount, D-Lake Charles, encouraged senators to sign off on the House change that inserted the “sunset” provision.
“We have the authority as two equal bodies to terminate the program based on the receipt of information as we do today for many (state) departments,” Mount said.
The Senate voted 36-0 to send the legislation to Jindal’s desk.
The House had voted 100-0 earlier for the measure.
The legislation deals with Jindal’s “coordinated care network” program that will be phased in statewide starting in January in the New Orleans area.
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 would essentially be paying insurance premiums for Medicaid recipients.
Lawmakers have complained that Jindal “slipped” the authorization for the program into a voluminous budget legislation after the Legislature had rejected the program. They said he then tried to implement the nearly $3 billion program with “emergency rules” that a legislative panel blocked.
Now, Mount argued that “the legislative branch, an equal branch” needs to have a role as the state moves into managed care.
Mount’s SB207 started out requiring sunset review and approval but she altered the legislation after the Jindal administration objected.
As the bill went to the House, it gave the Legislature’s budget or health-care committees the authority to halt the program if it was not meeting financial or health-care expectations at the end of initial three-year contracts.
The House decided it wanted the entire Legislature involved in assessing whether the program should be kept.
“All of us think we have a good program,” said state Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles. “But if it’s not working, we have a vehicle to get out of the deal.”