Monday, April 28, 2014

Where did all the money go?

Oil and gas is booming!
The Sun Herald reports oil and gas companies are drilling more wells and extending leases in key areas of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale along the Louisiana and Mississippi border, signs the Gulf Coast could be close to a shale drilling boom of its own.
Tourism is booming!
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana drew a record 27.3 million tourists to its cities, festivals, outdoor activities and other events last year, drawing $10.8 billion in visitor spending.

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne outlined the 2013 figures Monday at a tourism promotion lunch, saying the state attracted more outside visitors than the last record set a year earlier.
Oil and gas and tourism are the things that we do here in Louisiana and they could not be more booming than they are apparently.  These are truly the good times.

Where, then, did all the money go?
The GNOCHC program has its roots in a post-Hurricane Katrina federal grant to provide primary care services to the uninsured in the New Orleans area. In 2010, that program was replaced with GNOCHC, which is funded by federal Medicaid money.

With that change came new restrictions on eligibility and a requirement that local governments bear some of the costs. Every dollar Louisiana agencies put into the program draws down additional federal money, as with the rest of Louisiana’s Medicaid spending.

Since the start of the program, the state has paid for it using Community Development Block Grant funding. But with lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration already wrestling with a gap in next year’s budget, further state funding appears to be off the table.

The population covered by GNOCHC falls within the income limits of the Medicaid expansion that is part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. But that expansion, which would be fully paid for by the federal government in its early years, has been opposed by the Jindal administration, and an effort to get around the governor’s opposition was shot down in a state Senate committee last week.

Oh well. Come back after the next recession and/or disaster and maybe we'll have some money to hand out. Meanwhile, enjoy the boom!

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