The Ed Show | January 30, 2013
>>> if you take nothing else away from what i say today, please understand this. we must not become the party of austerity. we must not be the party of austerity. we must be the party of growth.
>> really? if only louisiana governor bobby jindal practiced what he preaches. jindal is planning massive cuts to louisiana 's government health care and medicaid programs. these cuts are going to have a devastating cut on the state's poorest citizens. they include cuts to programs that provide behavioral health services to at-risk children. offer case management visits for low-income hiv patients, and home visit by nurses who teach poor mothers how to care for newborns. the medicaid program will no longer cover physical therapy for nursing homes. dental benefits will be cut off for pregnant women , and doctors will be paid less when caring for medicaid patients. the cuts will begin friday. that's this friday. jindal says that it will help close the state's budget gap. but just a few months ago, he said it's all about the private insurance .
>> the best way to help the uninsured in our states is to create good-paying jobs so that folks can go out there and afford their own coverage, through their employer, private sector coverage, not to make them dependent on a government-run program.
>> well, governor, you a lot of jobs to create between now and friday. if there is one thing jindal is horrible at it is, that creating jobs. 21% of louisiana residents live below the poverty line . it's the second highest state poverty level in the nation. 20% of the residents rely on medicaid , and 20% have no insurance at all. now, i have seen the situation in louisiana firsthand. i have seen it firsthand. and it's not pretty, folks. "the ed show" hosted two free health care clinics in new orleans, and each time the line was out the door. and to these people and private insurance just isn't an option.
>> have you looked for insurance and priced it?
>> yeah, it's high.
>> do you know how much it would cost for you to get insurance independently?
>> oh, what was it like, three or $400 a month.
>> over 20% of louisiana lives below the poverty line . bobby jindal wants people to pay $400 a month for insurance . for a governor who oversees one of the poorest states in the nation, bobby jindal should be ashamed of himself for cutting assistance basically to the people who have no political influence. they're not going to be shaking down the pockets or lining the pockets of any politician. it's a cheap way to go, governor, and it's heartless. for more, let's turn to dr. ronnie whitfield, also known as the hip-hop doctor. and he is the associate medical director of the national association of free clinics in new orleans. doctor, good to have you with us tonight.
>> ed, thanks again for having me.
>> you bet.
>> it's great to be here.
>> how much is this going to hurt the residents, the poorest residents in louisiana ?
>> significantly, ed. it seems like our governor is building his budget off the backs of the poor and those that are most vulnerable are least considered. our poor women and children , those with disabilities and mental health issues. and up until this week, those with hospice benefits, that was being threatened to be cut as well. but we did get a reprieve on that. it's going to be significant. he also mentioned fit physician reimbursement. it's not about money. but we have to be compensated so we can continue to care for our patients. so this is something that is going to be very significant. and i'm quite concerned about the state of louisiana and my city of baton rouge , which i'm very passionate about.
>> will these cuts actually increase health care costs over time ?
>> i think so. we're closing this budget temporarily. but when individuals have to access the emergency rooms and lack of health care , i'm all about prevention of chronic illnesses and diseases. so when you have nurse practitioners that can go into home and educate first-time mothers about how to take care of their children, how to care for them and feed them, when we eliminate those services, later on in life we will have chronic defenses that we will have to deal with and that will increase health costs over time . we're looking at a short-term fix, but i think it's going to be a long-term problem.
>> doctors have to really be committed to see these patients, because it might force some doctors not to take medicaid patients at all, or is that a stretch? what do you think?
>> it's not a stretch, ed. and not just medicaid , but also medicare. three years ago, i would refer several patients to some specialists in the area, and they were no longer taking new medicare patients. and now with threats for reimbursement with medicare and medicaid , many of my colleagues are not taking either insurance . so the primary physicians are stuck with trying to manage chronic illnesses and diseases that are quite difficult when you need endocrinologieses and obgyns in referring out for specialists and help. everyone i know that is a physician went into this field to help people. that's why i participate with the national association of free clinics. we want to help people. we want to save lives.
>> we need more dr. rani whitfields in this country. god bless you for what you're doing and thanks for joining us. that's "the ed show."