La. backs off health care act-funded program
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has withdrawn an application to participate in a home-health care program for low-income people that would have been funded through President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.
The state had applied to take part in the law's Community First Choice Program, which increases federal matching dollars to states that provide home care to the disabled.
On Monday, the Jindal administration withdrew its application.
Calder Lynch, policy director of the state Department of Health and Hospitals, said Louisiana cannot afford to take part because the program would require significantly extension of eligibility for the program.
Advocates for the disabled expressed disappointment.
"This is going to affect a lot of people who need these kinds of services, especially given that funding for mental health care has been cut continuously over the last couple of fiscal years," Martha Benson, of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in St. Tammany Parish, told The Times-Picayune (http://bit.ly/15ePrMR).
Lynch told The Times-Picayune the state might submit a new application if the federal government offers up more flexibility.
Although Jindal has been a fierce critic of many aspects of the Affordable Care Act, his administration last year quietly applied for the Community First Choice Program.
Lynch told The Advocate (http://bit.ly/14EDMTW ) that soon after the state submitted its application, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, changed the interpretation of the rules governing the program. DHH negotiated with CMS for about a year, he said.
"CMS didn't give us flexibility to tailor the program, so it was too heavy a lift," Lynch said.