Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA) slammed Louisiana Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ reportedly corrupt deal that would disrupt roughly one million Louisianans’ health care.
Louisiana Gov. Edwards has touted Medicaid expansion as part of his reelection campaign; however, health insurance companies that have lost bids to manage health services for Medicaid patients have accused Gov. Edwards of bias and conflicts of interest. Rep. Ralph Abraham has noted that the Edwards administration could be engaging in political retribution against one healthcare company.
Republican and Democrat lawmakers have also worried over whether hundreds of thousands of Louisianans would have their healthcare access disrupted as the result of Edwards’ alleged conflicts of interest.
Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA), who is running for governor against Edwards, said that one million Louisianans will face gaps in their healthcare coverage because of the “incompetence and corruption in the governor’s office.”
“Health care for more than one million of our most vulnerable citizens is being disrupted because of the incompetence and corruption in the governor’s office,” Rep. Abraham tweeted Monday. “This is unacceptable. It’s time to start putting Louisiana Families First!”
Health care for more than one million of our most vulnerable citizens is being disrupted because of the incompetence and corruption in the governor's office. This is unacceptable. It's time to start putting Louisiana Families First! #lagov #Doc4Gov https://t.co/E6cljKE9pJ
— Dr. Ralph Abraham (@DocAbraham) August 26, 2019
The Edwards administration chose only four companies for managed care contracts starting in 2020. Five companies currently contract with the Louisiana state government, including Louisiana Healthcare Connections (LHCC) and Aetna Better Health, but both companies were not chosen for new contracts. The two healthcare companies have filed protests, accusing the Louisiana health department of improprieties.
Edwards’ decision not to give the contacts to Louisiana Healthcare Connections arises after a report revealed that Lousiana’s Healthcare Connections’ parent company, Centene, donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association (RGA).
Rep. Abraham wrote in an op-ed recently that Edwards administration officials were said to have publicly boasted that Centene made a “huge mistake” in giving to the RGA and that there would be “consequences.”
Abraham’s campaign said less than 36 hours later, a senior Edwards’ administration official called Louisiana Healthcare Connections to inform them that they had been dropped from the state’s Medicaid managed care program.
Roughly half a million Medicaid patients receiving coverage through Aetna and Louisiana Health Care Connections will have to transfer to new health plans if the contracts are upheld, and even some Democrats have warned about the potential fallout from dropping the two healthcare companies’ Medicaid contracts.
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) wrote to Edwards, saying that Louisiana’s health department has technical problems that would make it challenging to shift to new health plans without “at least some of the patients falling through the cracks for a time.”
In LHCC’s protest to the chief procurement officer, which was obtained by Breitbart News, the healthcare company alleged that the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) were “tainted with conflicts of interest and bias from the start.”
LHCC noted that one LDH employee told LHCC about its decision to drop the healthcare company from its contract “excitedly” wrote to a provider who had inquired about LHCC’s contract, “I thought I heard an explosion!! :),” including a smiley-face emoji.
When one team member of the LDH denied LHCC’s appeal in November 2018, a co-worker emailed him a picture of a woman dropping a microphone, to which another LDH employee responded, “Lol [laughing out loud].”
Further, during LHCC’s oral presentation to the LDH team:
To add insult to injury, one of these same LDH personnel actually fell asleep during LHCC’s oral presentation to the LDH evaluation team – perhaps the clearest sign that LDH had already made up its mind about LHCC, and had no interest in listening to what LHCC’s presenters had to say.
LHCC also noted that the LDH had only produced “one page of handwritten notes” in response to LHCC’s requests, “suggesting that LDH personnel intentionally discarded or even destroyed their notes to avoid such discovery.”
The healthcare company noted that Louisiana law requires that handwritten notes be retained as public record.
Congressman Abraham said in his op-ed that the “days of Huey Long-style cronyism should be long gone,” however, corruption continues to run deep in the Edwards administration.
Rep. Abraham said:
This is just one example of the non-stop intimidation coming from the governor’s office directed towards his political opponents, with Louisiana citizens paying the price. It appears there’s nothing John Bel Edwards won’t do to punish those who don’t fall in line. The days of Huey Long-style cronyism should be long gone. But, under John Bel Edwards, the stink of corruption is once again strong in the governor’s office.
“’People Over Politics’ might be the most inaccurate campaign slogan of all time for this governor,” Abraham added.