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La. voters lock up more of the budget from cuts

2 years 2 months 2 weeks ago November 06, 2014 Nov 6, 2014 Thursday, November 06 2014 November 06, 2014 2:28 PM in News
Source: Associated Press
By: Melinda Deslatte

BATON ROUGE - Balancing Louisiana's budget could be trickier for state lawmakers and the governor.

Voters agreed in this week's election to two constitutional amendments that will make it more difficult to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid funding from hospitals and nursing homes.

A minimum payment level is now set for Medicaid patient reimbursements paid to nursing homes, pharmacies and institutions for the developmentally disabled. Cuts to those payments will face restrictions and will require the support of two-thirds of lawmakers.

The second amendment approved will offer similar budget safeguards to hospitals - but only after lawmakers set a fee structure that doesn't yet exist in law.

The added budget protections will mean Louisiana's public colleges are one of the largest areas vulnerable to cutting during tight budget times.

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