Louisiana's Medicaid program will wind up the current budget year with a $100 million surplus, Louisiana's health chief predicts.
The Department of Health and Hospitals will use the money to pay $80 million owed to hospitals and other facilities statewide, said agency head Bobby Jindal.
But Jindal warned of substantial budget cuts of about $200 million for the next year. He notified the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget of the projected surplus last week.
The governor's proposed budget for fiscal 1997-98, which begins July 1, reduces the Medicaid program to $3.17 billion from $3.28 billion budgeted for this year.
The health agency now projects actual spending this year to be $3.18 billion.
Putting the surplus into recurring expenses this year would only result in deeper cuts next year, after the surplus is spent, Jindal said.
Some of the bills the surplus will be used to pay have been pending for three to four years, Jindal said.
The $200 million in cuts for the next budget will be needed to pay for federally mandated costs that the federal government does not pay, Jindal said. That includes inflationary costs due hospitals and nursing homes, minimum wage increases and an extra week of Medicaid checks, Jindal said.