The Latest: Lawmakers approve $15B in Medicaid contracts

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Information Provided By The Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on Louisiana's Medicaid managed-care contracts (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has won legislative backing for $15.4 billion in Medicaid managed-care contract extensions that House Republicans had blocked multiple times in prior votes.

At the fourth hearing of the Legislature's joint budget committee on the deals, lawmakers approved the extensions without a single objection Thursday.

Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry, the House Republican who led the original opposition, says the addition of language explicitly giving the legislative auditor oversight of the deals made lawmakers "feel better" about the contracts.

The extensions will keep in place five companies that manage care for 1.5 million Louisiana Medicaid patients. The current contracts were set to expire Jan. 31.

Edwards had planned to enact the deals through an emergency process if lawmakers didn't reverse their opposition, a plan that provoked legislative criticism.

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8 a.m.

Louisiana lawmakers are scheduled to have a fourth debate on whether to approve $15.4 billion in Medicaid managed-care contract extensions sought by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Under the current deals, set to expire Jan. 31, five managed-care companies oversee health services delivered to 1.5 million Medicaid patients.

House Republicans on the legislature's joint budget committee have blocked the extensions so far, raising concerns about their price tag and oversight of the spending. Edwards, a Democrat, has suggested the lawmakers are being obstructionists.

The joint budget committee will again discuss the proposals Thursday.

If lawmakers don't reverse their opposition, Edwards intends to sidestep them to enact the deals through an emergency contracting process. Attorney General Jeff Landry has suggested contracts done through the emergency statute could be subject to legal dispute.