We have important breaking news for you Wonketeers: the first concentric ring of hell exists, and it is Louisiana. Is this a surprise, really? No, probably not: as aforementioned, it is home to the highest infant mortality rate, the fifth-highest maternal mortality rate, the fourth-worst life expectancy rate, the fifth-highest violent crime rate, the second-highest poverty rate, and the fifth-highest obesity rate in the country.
And all of these things are SURE to improve, now that Governor Bobby Jindal will be eliminating benefits for HIV patients, dental benefits, first time moms who are Poor, and children of Poors.
Cuts to health-care services begin this week for at-risk children, low-income moms and HIV patients, part of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s rebalancing of the budget to close a midyear deficit.
Scheduled for elimination are programs that provide behavioral health services for at-risk children, offer case management visits for low-income HIV patients and pay for at-home visits by nurses who teach poor, first-time mothers how to care for their newborns.
The Medicaid program will no longer cover physical therapy and speech therapy rehabilitation services for nursing home residents. Dental benefits to pregnant women through Medicaid will be cut off. Hospitals and doctors will be paid less when they care for Medicaid patients.
Oh it’s just dental care for pregnant ladies, who needs dental care, just a frippery for prancing nancies and fancy Hollywood stars, right? WRONG. According to a peer-reviewed study in the Maternal and Child Health Journal:
Maternal oral health has significant implications for birth outcomes and infant oral health. Maternal periodontal disease…has been associated with preterm birth, development of preeclampsia, and delivery of a small-for-gestational age infant.
Also, people die because they have an oral infection and cannot find a dentist who will take Medicaid patients. Like 12-year-old Deamont Driver, who died of a tooth infection when his parents were unable to find a dentist to perform an $80 tooth extraction. So maybe we should pay for dental care for pregnant ladies, given that an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure and and all that.
Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein said he targeted programs that were duplicative, costly and optional under the state’s participation in the state-federal Medicaid program. Greenstein said in many instances, people can get the care they’re losing through other government-funded programs. But he acknowledged that won’t happen in every case, meaning some people will simply lose the services or receive reduced services.
Here is the thing about Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein: it is very unlikely that he is on Medicaid, and very unlikely that he ever will be. We wish that every single government official HAD to be on Medicaid, because maybe then they would take a closer look at which programs are, in fact, duplicative. This will never ever happen, but if it did, we bet that Louisiana would be looking less and less than a concentric ring of hell for Poors.