Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein released the following statement today in response to the House of Representatives' approval of drastic health care cuts in House Bill 1:

In total, the version of HB 1 now making its way to the Senate represents a $304.5 million total cut to health care on top of the significant reductions we had already built into this budget with much deliberation and hard work.

Despite claims to the contrary, the fact is this action will leave an $264 million hole in Medicaid budget that will force dramatic cuts of at least 7.5 percent to the rates we pay private hospitals, pharmacists, physicians, LSU hospitals, rural hospitals and home care providers for the elderly and people with developmental disabilities. This will reduce access to life-saving care for the most vulnerable Louisianians. Without explanation or debate, the House also stripped $10 million earmarked to improve the behavioral health care that children and families receive, through cuts to the Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership, which includes the Coordinated System of Care for the state's most troubled and at-risk youth.

All of this was done on top of $29.5 million stripped from health care last week by the House Appropriations Committee that will reduce services we provide to citizens with developmental disabilities, children with special health care needs and the elderly.

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's blog, Twitter account and Facebook.