Medicaid Costs Up $950M As LA Hospitals Privatize

BATON ROUGE (AP) — A legislative audit says Louisiana's Medicaid spending rose about $950 million while the state turned public hospitals and much of Medicaid over to private operators.

         Ernie Summerville of the auditor's office tells The Advocate’s Marsha Shuler he lacks enough information to say if the net cost of privatizing the programs is that high.

         The report says Medicaid annual spending stayed about $6.6 billion to $6.8 billion from 2010 through 2012 but hit $7.6 billion by June 30, when fiscal 2014 ended.

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         Privatization started in calendar 2013 and continued into this year.

         Auditors found spending up $600 million for Bayou Health, the private insurance program handling more than 900,000 of Louisiana's 1.4 million Medicaid recipients.

         They estimate increased payments for uninsured patients to private operators of LSU hospitals at $350 million.

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