In a recent letter to the editor, a concerned citizen expressed her apprehension for Amendments 1 and 2. Louisiana’s nursing facilities have one of the lowest payments from Medicaid in the nation, while Louisiana has the fourth best funded home and community-based service program in the South.

A vote for Constitutional Amendment 1 would create budgetary fairness because it requires that cuts, if necessary, be allocated evenhandedly among health care providers. If passed, Amendment 1 would protect Louisiana’s health care services for seniors by providing a stable source of funding without raising taxes. It would also ensure that the state Legislature acts in a responsible, thoughtful manner before cutting certain existing health care services. Amendments 1 and 2 could free up additional state dollars if the state’s federal match share could be stretched, as many other states have done.

State general funds accounted for less than 5 percent of the nursing facilities’ Medicaid budget, yet most other Medicaid providers received 37 percent of their funding from state general funds. Nursing facilities care for our most vulnerable seniors — those who need 24-hour care. Many are our mothers, fathers, veterans, teachers, taxpayers. They have earned the privilege to receive quality care.

Quality health care for the elderly and disabled should be among the state’s highest priorities. Funding for these health care services should receive the maximum possible financial protection. Constitutional Amendment 1 would provide a measured level of protection for health care services by dedicating funds to support Louisiana’s rapidly growing elderly population requiring health care services. We must prepare for the “silver tsunami.”

Protect health care in Louisiana by voting yes for Amendments 1 and 2. Early voting is Oct. 21 to 28, and Election Day is Nov. 4.

Joe Donchess

executive director, Louisiana Nursing Home Association

Baton Rouge