Louisiana senators reject closure of mental health program
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana state senators blocked plans by Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration to shutter a Medicaid program that provides mental health services to more than 47,000 children.
The Edwards administration planned to close the program April 1, to save Louisiana more than $2 million this year, in response to cuts levied by lawmakers to close a deficit.
Senators said they couldn't support balancing the budget by eliminating children's services. Several blamed House lawmakers for forcing deeper cuts by refusing to use more "rainy day" fund money to fill gaps.
The Senate Health and Welfare Committee unanimously rejected the program's closure, keeping it from elimination.
Edwards administration leaders said they didn't want to shutter a program that helps children with behavioral problems, but had to work within constraints lawmakers enacted on cuts.