Governor John Bel Edwards was in Lafayette to talk to doctors and administrators of University Hospitals and Clinics.

Governor Edwards punched back against lawmakers who criticized his decision to mail nursing home eviction warnings resulting from a potential Medicaid cut, and who are stalling on approving the $648 million in revenue needed to fund healthcare and TOPS.

“There are members of the legislature who are praying that enough other members will have the courage that they lack, so that the revenue passes and this hospital stays open, and everyone keeps their TOPS, but they get to come home and take credit for that but say I didn’t vote for that revenue,” said Governor Edwards.

GOP legislators resisted efforts to renew any portion the expiring revenue at the center of the fiscal cliff in a special session in February, but Edwards says with a rebounding economy, they won’t need to renew the full billion dollars.

“I don’t even look at it as raising taxes, the tax burden can go down by $400 million comparing this year to next and we will adequately fund all of these parties that we’re talking about.”

Edwards says the ramifications of budget cuts that would close public-private partnership hospitals, formerly the Charity Hospital System, would go deeper than just eliminating service to hundreds of thousands of at risk patients.

“If we don’t have partner hospitals, we don’t get lease payments. The very first thing that has to happen come July 1st the revenue estimating conference is going to have to meet and downgrade the forecast by another $168 million.”

Edwards says he now supports renewing a portion of the expiring penny sales tax to close the budget gap.

 

KPEL's Brandon Comeaux was there and covering the Governor's visit for kpel965.com. He'll have a full recap of the meeting and the event on this afternoon's edition of OFFSIDES.