The "Dreamers" are here. It is estimated 800,000 young alien residents are living in the United States. The Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs passed under President Obama had given a temporary reprieve to deportation for children and young adults who were brought to the country illegally by their parents.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced the program will end in March. 

Congressman Ralph Abraham thinks the Congress will address the issue in the coming weeks but doesn't want DACA tied to a compromise on the U.S. - Mexican border wall. 

Audit: $718K Spent In Louisiana On Dead Medicaid Patients

Dec 4, 2017
Ano Lobb / /

A new audit says the Louisiana Department of Health improperly paid $718,000 over four years for Medicaid patients who were no longer receiving services because they had died.

Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's office released a report Monday that says the department spent the money between July 2013 and August 2017 for 712 deceased Medicaid patients. 

Most of the improper spending involved payments made to managed-care companies that oversee services for most of Louisiana's Medicaid patients.

Eric Hunsaker / /

Louisiana health officials are skeptical the state could save sizable sums of money by reworking the way it runs the prescription drug program for Medicaid patients.

State Medicaid Director Jen Steele and Jeff Reynolds, the health department's chief financial officer, responded to questions Tuesday from a legislatively created study group.

Steele said the method Louisiana uses to pay for Medicaid prescription drugs is an industry standard and administrative costs are capped.

Court Tie Means Louisiana Planned Parenthood Keeps Funding

Nov 29, 2017
*Hajee / /

A tie vote among 14 federal appeals court judges in New Orleans allows Planned Parenthood facilities in Louisiana to keep receiving Medicaid funding.

The money in question goes to health services other than abortion for low-income women. However, abortion opponents have opposed any government funding for the organization.

In 2015, a federal judge blocked a move by then-Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration to cut off the funding. A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later upheld that block.

The state sought a rehearing.

Audit: Nursing Home Payments Up, But Not Patient Numbers

Nov 20, 2017
Ulrich Joho / /

A new audit says Louisiana's payments to private nursing homes for taking care of Medicaid patients have risen substantially over the last decade. But while the facilities are pocketing ever-higher dollars from the state, their occupancy rates stayed largely flat.

Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's office said Louisiana uses payment structures that are out of step with other states, driving up costs on the nursing homes and long-term rehabilitation facilities. 

Antrell Williams / /

Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is trying a third time to persuade lawmakers to approve contract extensions for Louisiana's Medicaid managed-care companies, which coordinate health services for 1.5 million people. 

The joint legislative budget committee debates the deals again Friday. 

GOP lawmakers have questioned whether the health department is doing enough to monitor and squeeze savings out of deals estimated to cost $15.4 billion over 23 months. 

Craig Sunter /

Two sisters are fighting over Mom and Dad’s estate. Now, mind you, Mom and Dad are still alive and kicking.

One sister thinks Mom and Dad should give away most of their assets so they can qualify for Medicaid if one or both have to go to a nursing home. The other sister thinks that is a terrible idea and tantamount to bilking the government out of money.

So they come ask me what I think.

I think that when it comes to settling arguments between sisters, I usually try to speak out of both sides of my mouth, then duck.