Blueprint La. endorses Medicaid expansion

Expanding the government-run health care option for the working poor on “principled and financial grounds” is among the nonpartisan public-policy group’s top priorities heading into the Oct. 24 election.

Blueprint Louisiana, a nonpartisan public-policy group comprising business and health care leaders from around the state, released a four-goal agenda Monday in advance of the fall election cycle and heading into 2016.

According to release enumerating those priorities, BL supports:

● Building a transportation system that supports economic growth, that includes no more raiding of the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), increasing the annual TTF investment, beginning in earnest the use of innovative funding tools and improving Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development operational effectiveness.

● Reset higher eEducation for excellence, that includes preserving higher admission standards, reforms to sustain TOPS, providing institutions with greater cost and revenue control and right-sizing programs and campuses.

● Improving health care financing and services, that includes expanding health care coverage to Louisiana’s uninsured citizens living at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty line and customizing that coverage expansion to Louisiana’s needs and population.

● Addressing the state’s structural budget deficit, that includes building honest state budgets, continuing to lower the cost of state government, raising recurring revenue and streamlining Louisiana’s corporate tax system.

“Our goal this election cycle remains the same as it was in 2007 and 2011 — to frame Louisiana’s most important issues for candidates and voters — and to hopefully compel candidates to reveal to voters how they will address these issues if elected,” says BL Chairman Dr. Phillip Rozeman, president of Cardiovascular Consultants in Shreveport.

“We have a contested election for governor, and there are several legislative races that feature multiple candidates,” Rozeman said. “We identified four priority issues and offer solutions related to each. These are ideas designed to help get Louisiana back on track. We encourage voters to review the 2015 Blueprint Agenda as well as other available information as they prepare to vote in the October 24th primary.”

Blueprint Louisiana was established in 2006 following the twin natural disasters of late 2005 — hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Its board of trustees includes several prominent business leaders from Lafayette: attorney Clay Allen, the group’s secretary, LGMC President/CEO David Callecod, engineering firm CEO Bill Fenstermaker, bankers Daryl Byrd and Cleland Powell, builder Lenny Lemoine, attorney Christopher Schouest and restaurateur Ed Krampe.

“No doubt the state has made progress during the past seven years in some important areas,” Allen notes in the release. “But we’ve also experienced a fiscal nightmare and detrimental cycle of budget deficits. We have to begin to address the lingering budget challenges but also turn our attention to tackling the transportation backlog that has built up over a generation as well as optimizing our higher education enterprise.

“To do that, the state is going to need additional revenue as well as continued spending discipline, and we offer some ideas to consider. We also add our voice to the call for Medicaid expansion on both principled and financial grounds as the federal government is willing to pay almost all the costs for the first five years to provide essential health care services to those that arguably need it most. Combined with a customized approach, it seems clear-cut to us that the state should step up and accept the federal health care dollars that are rightfully Louisiana’s, which not only helps patients and providers but also provides some relief to the budget.”

Read more about Blueprint Louisiana's priorities at its website.