SOLUTIONS : Louisiana
Cajun Care: Medicaid Reform in Louisiana
On November 14, Governor Jindal and Alan Levine, secretary of the Louisiana’s Department of Health and
Hospitals—the job Jindal once held—released the “Louisiana Health First” initiative in an effort to reform the state’s $7-billion Medicaid system.
This initiative consists of multiple components, the nexus being replacement of the state’s current “fee-forservice” model with one in which managed-care organizations receive a per-patient fee. The managed-care organizations, described as Coordinated Care Networks (CCNs) in the Louisiana Health First model will start in four regions, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, and Shreveport, with expansion to encompass the whole state within five years—pending measurable success.
While the Jindal-Levine plan contains flaws, overall it is a step in the right direction. The plan correctly acknowledges key concepts of health policy reform such as accountability, consumer choice, cost efficiency, marketplace competition, and transparency. Government run health care is inherently flawed, so any attempt to reform a system such as Medicaid is naturally going to be difficult. This is important to remember as the Obama administration, backed by a Democratic House and Senate, seeks to expand the role of government in our health care.