Proposed Cuts To Louisiana Health Services Spark Anxiety


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's budget struggles have spawned a heart-wrenching yearly ritual, where people who rely on the state for health services plead with lawmakers to shield their programs from cuts.

The ritual played out again Monday in the Senate Finance Committee, in grueling testimony about the real-life hardships of coping with disabilities.

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People in wheelchairs and parents with children unable to speak for themselves packed a hearing room to beg senators to reverse House-backed cuts proposed for the budget year starting July 1.

An estimated 45,000 people with disabilities are slated to lose health services in the proposal, to close a budget gap caused by expiring taxes.

Gov. John Bel Edwards wants lawmakers to pass replacement taxes in a special session to stop the cuts. It's unclear when that session will begin.

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