Medicaid copay bills stall amid health provider opposition
BATON ROUGE - Proposals to charge Medicaid patients copays for some prescription drugs and other services have fizzled in the Louisiana Legislature, including a measure backed by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Hearings on three Medicaid copay bills were scrapped in the House health committee Thursday. That included the bill by Republican Rep. Jack McFarland, which was supported by the Democratic governor.
McFarland was proposing to charge Louisiana's Medicaid recipients for seeking non-emergency care in hospital emergency rooms. He says he wanted to discourage costly treatments that could be provided more cheaply in a doctor's office.
The proposals ran into strong criticism from hospitals and other health providers who say they're the equivalent of cuts to their Medicaid payments because copays are unenforceable.
Others criticize copays as discouraging the poor to seek health services.