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Bill leveraging hospital cash to capture more fed Medicaid money passes committee

The Times Picayune, April 16, 2013

The House Appropriations Committee on Monday approved a bill that backers say could bring in an additional $170 million in Medicaid money for hospitals that care for the poor and uninsured. House Bill 532, co-sponsored by House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, and Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, would allow hospitals to deposit money into a "stabilization fund" that would be used as a match for federal Medicaid dollars. Currently, for every 35 cents the state puts into the Medicaid program, the federal government kicks in 65 cents. To increase the state's match without tapping taxpayer dollars, the bill would allow hospitals to pool their own cash in a state-operated fund, which would then be submitted to the federal government for additional matching dollars.