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Abandon New Orleans hospital plan, 3 Republicans urge Jindal

The Times-Picayune, June 10, 2011

In the latest volley over plans for a medical center to succeed Charity Hospital, House Speaker Jim Tucker joined two statewide elected Republicans on Thursday to urge Gov. Bobby Jindal to abandon the current University Medical Center project in favor of the state buying and expanding Tulane University's privately owned hospital facilities. Outlined in a letter from Tucker, U.S. Sen. David Vitter and state Treasurer John Kennedy, the idea appears to be a late-game long shot, with the state facilities office itching to start construction and the UMC board developing a business plan with the intent of selling high-yield bonds for construction, perhaps by the end of the year. Yet with the financing puzzle still missing pieces and skeptical legislators holding leverage, the latest proposal -- and Tucker's endorsement -- reinforces the political hurdles facing the current $1.2 billion plan for a Mid-City complex near downtown.