Wednesday January 25, 2012
The nine local civic groups that came together to bring education talks to the forefront in Lafayette Parish over the last couple of years may soon have an new (and old) member of its team. Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper tells The Ind that LPSS rejoining the Lafayette Parish Education Stakeholders Council is a “no brainer.” The nine organizations that comprise LaPESC are the705, 100 Black Men of Greater Lafayette, Citizens Action Council, Concerned Citizens for Good Government, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, State of Greater Black Lafayette, Southwest LA Black Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Acadiana and UL Lafayette. The groups’ collective membership is more than 5,000. The Lafayette Parish School System was a member at the outset, but former Superintendent Burnell Lemoine withdrew its membership after LaPESC began planning candidate forums for board elections. Cooper says he believes he can reinstate the school system’s membership without any action from the school board. If he’s wrong, however, he says board approval likely won’t be an issue.
As expected by the state Department of Health and Hospitals, the “Bayou Health” privatized Coordinated Care Network for privatizing Medicaid in Louisiana is off to a rough start. According to The Advocate, approximately 12 percent of eligible Medicaid recipients have enrolled with one of five privately administered, publicly funded health insurance plans, which are slated to take over Medicaid coverage in February and have so far left doctors and hospitals with endless unanswered questions about the new insurance. State Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein (pictured) tells the Baton Rouge paper that the agency expected to experience problems with the rollout, since “this is a pretty major change in the way we do business.” Indeed, the $2.2 billion privatized Medicaid program is a substantial change in the Medicaid business in Louisiana. As New Orleans’ Gambit newspaper publisher Clancy Dubos points out in a December column, “Jindal is privatizing health care for a segment of the population that already ranks among the cheapest to treat.” Something about “if it ain’t broke ...” is coming to mind.