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Louisiana: Jindal's Budget Plan Axes HIV Care

By Michelle Garcia

Louisiana's health care system is making significant cuts to its infrastructure, possibly putting hundreds of people with HIV at risk of losing treatment.

In addition to HIVers who need treatment assistance, low-income mothers, and at-risk children will also lose state-backed financial support after Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to close a $166 million budget deficit, the Associated Press reports. One grant was identified to continue to provide at-home care for terminally ill patients who can't afford private insurance. Otherwise, several health initiatives will be eliminated.

Louisiana's Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein said the only programs that were eliminated are duplicative, costly, and optional under the state's participation of Medicaid. He said the 250 people who rely on a soon-to-be eliminated program that provides case management can find similar services through a private managed care network that covers the state's Medicare users.

The cuts are scheduled to begin Feb. 1.

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