Republican budget questioned over cuts to health programs

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State Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, proposed the House budget that would cut health programs and TOPS funding. (Photo: Sarah Gamard)

Tryfon Boukouvidis

The Louisiana Senate Finance Committee today questioned a Republican budget passed by the House that would fully fund hospitals for the poor but slash funding for other health programs by $116 million.

Including federal matching dollars, the total cuts to the Louisiana Department of Health would amount to over half a billion dollars, compromising mental health services and substance abuse treatment programs when temporary revenue measures expire on July 1.

“We can’t continue to cut and appropriately meet the needs of the people of this state,” said Health Secretary Rebekah Gee.

The hearing illustrated the continuing divide between House Republicans, who are focused on cutting the size of state government, and many senators, who want to raise more revenue to avoid cuts in health care and the TOPS scholarship program.

Read the story in Gambit Weekly.

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