Associated Press - BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Gov. John Bel Edwards intends to sidestep lawmakers to enact $15 billion in Medicaid contracts, after House Republicans voted twice to block deals to provide services to 1.5 million people.
The Democratic governor plans to enact 23-month "emergency contracts" that will keep five managed-care companies overseeing services for 90 percent of Louisiana's Medicaid patients.
The current managed-care contracts expire Jan. 31. House Republicans on the Legislature's joint budget committee have twice refused to approve extensions.
Edwards' administration is relying on a state law that allows for emergency contracting when an imminent threat to public health exists.
Edwards' chief lawyer Matthew Block says if the Medicaid contracts expire, there would be no way to deliver services to patients. He says that "clearly meets the requirement established in law" for emergency contracting.