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Sep 22, 2009 9:16 AM by sleonard

Health secretary expecting Medicaid deficit

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's health secretary says costs of the state Medicaid program are running over expectations, and he expects a mid-year deficit that will have to be closed.
Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine wouldn't put a dollar figure on the deficit projection Monday, but he says he expects it will be "significant."
Levine says swine flu cases are driving up emergency room visits, trips to the doctor's office and medication needs. That's driving up costs in the Medicaid program that cares for the poor,
elderly and disabled.
Meanwhile, Levine says planned cost-cutting moves are taking longer to begin than he hoped.
The combination of increased costs and less-than-expected savings is almost certain to cause a deficit, Levine told the Senate Finance Committee.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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