BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The health department says cuts proposed by the leader of Louisiana's House Republicans could devastate programs for the poor and uninsured, the mentally ill and people with disabilities.

Rep. Lance Harris offered his plan Thursday for closing Louisiana's $304 million budget deficit, which would levy $147 million in cuts on the Department of Health.

Health Department spokesman Bob Johannessen said the cuts would multiply with the loss of federal matching dollars to $423 million.

With that reduction, Johannessen says the agency would have to stop paying the privatized LSU hospitals and clinics that care for the poor. He says dollars would be slashed for programs that help the elderly and disabled stay out of nursing homes.

Harris says the cuts could be spread among salaries, supplies, travel and other costs.

 

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