It seems that 26,000 is the “magic number.” If Gov. John Bel Edwards did not receive at least 26,000 votes from your parish in November, then you are at risk of not having a privatized LSU hospital in your parish anymore. Ouachita Parish (Monroe) is the only exception, as Edwards is only proposing a 3 percent cut for its hospital, despite the mere 17,577 votes he received from the parish.

The other parishes with only a 3 percent proposed cut include Orleans Parish, which contributed 81,900 votes to Edwards’ election, East Baton Rouge Parish, which added 80,543 votes, Caddo Parish, which ponied up 38,406 votes, and Lafayette Parish, which just made the cut at 27,926 votes.

Parishes where the entire LSU privatized hospitals are being threatened include Calcasieu, which only cast 25,586 votes toward Edwards’ victory; Rapides, which contributed 14,866 votes; Terrebonne , where only 9,100 voters supported him; and Washington , where Edwards received a paltry 6,067 votes. (Election statistics are from theadvocate.com.)

This is the epitome of vindictive politics. Is Edwards so narrow-minded and cold-hearted that he would shut down hospitals simply because areas don’t have the population or desire to support his bid as governor? Only time will tell.

What Edwards is doing is letting us know that he’s in charge. His philosophy reflects the belief that if we didn’t vote for him or if we have legislative delegations in Baton Rouge who support better solutions than higher taxes and cutting health care and education, then he’s going to suspend us over a cliff and threaten to let go if we don’t fall in line for even more taxes.

Every branch of government has checks and balances. It is up to our senators and representatives to keep Edwards within his limits of power.

So, the question we will see answered is whether it is more important for Edwards to be a successful politician or a successful public servant. While he certainly has shown us the former, his actions show that he is lacking as a public servant.

After all, would he really cut health care availability to regions of the state who played limited roles in electing him rather than explore cutting some of the 18,000-plus consultants on the state’s payroll?

Does he think closing hospitals and alienating health care partners is a better solution to our state’s financial woes than restructuring state management where nearly one in every four managers currently has only one subordinate? And, perhaps even more importantly, would our legislative delegations in these unfavored parishes permit him to unilaterally discriminate against our parishes? Ain’t politics grand?

Gerald Michel

Terrebonne Parish councilman

Houma