Closing Baton Rouge General Medical Center Mid-City’s emergency room will be a disaster. Sure, it will hit the indigent and working poor the hardest, but shutting that ER will hit all of Baton Rouge: poor, middle class and even the rich.

Losing this ER puts more strain on every other emergency room in our city and means longer waits and lower-quality emergency care for our citizens, no matter their income.

You can’t blame Baton Rouge General’s managers. Gov. Bobby Jindal forced them into this.

Jindal, his political ambitions and the legislators who blindly support him created this unfolding health care crisis. His slavish devotion to his personal ambitions led him to reject a fully funded expansion of Medicare for Louisiana. His short-sighted destruction of our public hospital system left many hospitals slammed with caring for indigent patients —care they won’t be paid for.

When the crisis at Mid-City — one that many legislators predicted — arose last year, Jindal promised money to keep the ER open. Now, Jindal’s failed there, too, and the hospital will close the ER.

Jindal and his allies caused this crisis. They closed Earl K. Long Hospital and voted for Jindal’s scheme to contract with private hospitals to care for our poorest and sickest. The forced closure of this ER will reduce the quality of health care in Baton Rouge. We can expect the same kind of outcome in other Louisiana cities as the flaws of the Jindal-created scheme emerge.

Ted James

state representative

Baton Rouge