State lawmakers are proposing sweeping cuts to Medicaid to cope with the estimated $1 billion budget deficit.
If the cuts pass, 46,000 thousand Medicaid recipients, who qualify for long-term care could be forced out of facilities.
A Scott woman, whose loved one has been living at a facility in Pineville for more than 40 years since he was six years old, explained that she is the only family he has left, and if he’s forced out she doesn’t know what she’ll do.
“I feel like I’ve let Dan and Wanda down. They both passed away knowing that I would help their son, and they always said it’s better if he stays at Pinecrest. He will do well at Pinecrest. Don’t let them take him away from Pinecrest," said Beverly Everett.
The proposed cuts to Medicaid stipulate that any patient receiving income between $750 and $2,250 dollars per month will no longer be eligible for the Long Term Care Special Income Level Program, or LTC.
Dan Louis Coleman Jr. receives $1,400 from his late mother’s social security, so if the cuts are approved, he will be forced to leave Pinecrest.
"Developmentally, he has the mind of an 8-month-old,” said Everett.
Last month Dan was hospitalized after having nine seizures in one day. He has a device implanted in his skull and wears a helmet in case he falls.
He’s non-verbal and has no sense of danger, and he’s 6’2 and weighs 220 lbs.
"I’m 63 years old, my husband is 67 years old. Physically, I don’t think I could handle him by bathing him, putting him up, feeding him, changing his diaper, watching him 24/7. Someone would always have to be with him, it would basically destroy our lives,” said Everett.
Everett says upon getting the notification from Pinecrest in late March, she’s been in a constant state of anxiety and has been frantically sending letters and emails to state representatives desperately asking them to not make cuts to the LTC program.
"I’m scared to death for Dan Louis. This is a child who has been in Pinecrest basically his whole life, and because the Louisiana representation can’t balance the budget, now they’re gonna cut Medicaid services to Louisiana’s most vulnerable. A lot of them can’t speak for themselves,” said Everett.
Lawmakers say one way to avoid the cuts is by taking money from an increase in state income tax revenue.
The $302 million bump is expected to be verified in May, but this could lead to some tension from people who want to use that money to avoid cuts to higher education.