Warren Hebert’s letter to the editor regarding a waiting list for people with disabilities fails to mention the one word that is a linchpin to paying for more services — taxes. The state simply can’t afford to provide more of these elective programs without heavily taxing its citizenry.

He also stated that Louisiana pays for empty nursing facility beds. This is false. Medicaid pays for elderly and disabled people who need around-the-clock long term care services and are too poor to afford to pay for the care. The payment methodology for nursing facilities has several components, including a capital component, to which Mr. Hebert refers. Every Medicaid program for nursing facilities in the country has such a component. Louisiana’s payment to nursing facilities is one of the lowest in the country.

I agree that individuals with disabilities deserve assistance, but Louisiana has a significant budget deficit. Payments to direct service workers for 54,000 people would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. What is your taxing limit?

Joe Donchess

executive director, Louisiana Nursing Home Association

Baton Rouge