Graves & Abraham to Tax Bill Negotiators: Don’t forget about Louisiana flood victims

Photo source: ULLA

Photo source: ULLA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2017
Contact: Kevin Roig, 202-225-3901

WASHINGTON, DC – Louisiana Congressmen Garret Graves (R-Capital Region) and Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-Alto) sent a letter today urging Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and Congressman Kevin Brady, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means to retain disaster tax relief language in the final product of negotiations currently underway in Washington to resolve differences between House and Senate versions of major tax reform legislation.  The disaster tax relief, which was included by Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy in the Senate’s version of the bill, accomplishes the goals of separate legislation Graves introduced earlier this year - H.R. 2849, the Louisiana Flood and Storm Devastation Act of 2017, which would grant homeowners and individuals emergency tax relief, the ability to withdraw from retirement accounts without incurring penalties, casualty loss provisions, work opportunity tax credits for employers, and relief for certain charitable giving. The bipartisan bill was cosponsored by Congressmen Richmond (D-LA), Abraham and Higgins.

“We aren’t asking for special treatment,” reiterated Graves. “We’re asking for our flood victims to be given the same, common sense relief that disaster victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico were granted after disaster struck those communities.  Too often after disasters, government ends up getting in the way of recovery – this is a chance to actually help recovery and remove nonsensical penalties currently imposed on victims for wanting to take care of themselves.”

Dr. Abraham added, “Louisiana flood victims deserve equal access to disaster tax benefits that have been afforded to other states. Our people are still recovering from two historic floods we suffered last year, and this tax relief will go a long way toward facilitating that recovery.”

Louisiana Congressmen Clay Higgins and Mike Johnson also signed the letter, which can be readhere. You can read more about H.R. 2849 here.

Louisiana Ranks High in "Judicial Hellhole" Report

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“Rounding out the latest Hellholes list is #8 Louisiana,” Joyce reported, “where a former trial lawyer turned governor cheerleads litigation against the Pelican State’s critical energy industry and has hired rich political donors to run it. Ethically challenged judges and seemingly bogus ADA lawsuits make things worse.” 

Read more:  Louisiana Ranks High in "Judicial Hellhole" Report

Posted on December 9, 2017 and filed under John Bel Edwards, Louisiana.

Louisiana Citizens for Job Creators: Video details Fraud, LA Tax dollars shipped to other states

Photo source: Facebook  

Photo source: Facebook  

Louisiana Citizens for Job Creators put out the following regarding rampant waste within the Louisiana DHS and "Honor Code" wanting more of the Louisiana taxoayer's money. 

  • Louisiana saw over $40 million in Medicaid fraud in 2016.
  • $2.5 Million of OUR Louisiana tax dollars were sent to folks living in other states.
  • All of this while the Louisiana Department of Hospitals budget skyrocketed up 60%!

And now the Louisiana Department of Hospitals wants another $2 Billion of our tax dollars?!?

What did the Louisiana legislature say about all of this? Governor Edwards bypassed them and awarded a $15 BILLION contract without their approval.

See the breaking video for all the facts.

Posted on November 29, 2017 and filed under Louisiana, Taxes, John Bel Edwards.

Op-Ed: 340B Drug Discount Program 25th Anniversary

Photo source: Louisiana House of Representatives

Photo source: Louisiana House of Representatives

While Congress remains deadlocked on health care reform, there is good news for some of Louisiana’s seniors who are in the Medicare program. Recently the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS), a federal agency that sets Medicare policy made some important change to the 340B Drug Discount Program which will result in Seniors and the Medicare Trust Fund paying less for prescription drugs.

 

Most people have never heard of the 340B Drug Discount Program although it is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Designed to help low income and uninsured patients to afford their prescription medicines, the program allows certain clinics and hospitals that serve large populations of such patients to buy drugs at a steep discount. The intention was that these discounts would be passed along to the patients.

 

Like so many well-meaning government programs, over time the purpose of the program has been lost and some hospitals have taken advantage of it to pad their bottom lines rather than help patients pay for drugs. Because the legislation that created the program, and the rules promulgated to implement it, are vague, clever consultants have found loopholes to help some hospitals exploit the program.

For example, while clinics such as the Ryan White AIDs Clinics, must document how they use the savings from the discounts, large corporate hospital chains who make tens of millions from the program have no reporting requirement at all. In fact, many hospitals run fully insured patients through the program, not just those in need. They take drugs they bought at a steep discount and sell them to fully insured patients at full price and pocket the difference. In the case of some very expensive cancer drugs, this profit could amount to thousands of dollars from just one patient. This overcharging not only impacts the Medicare Trust Fund but also the out of pocket amount that Medicare patients must pay.

 

In its recent ruling CMS has rightly said that hospitals must charge Medicare, and the Medicare patient, a price that is much close to what the hospital actually paid for the drug under the 340B Drug Discount Program. No longer are excessive profits acceptable. 

 

But even this welcome change by CMS is very limited. It only applies to drugs administered by hospitals to Medicare patients in their outpatient facilities. Drugs prescribed to Medicare patients which are taken at home and which seniors purchase from for-profit chain drugs stores with contract arrangements with the hospital, can continue to yield massive profits for both hospital and pharmacy.

 

So, while there is limited good news for some on Medicare, there is no good news for younger patients. The reality for non-Medicare patients is that those who are in need have no guarantee of receiving the 340B discount and those who are fully insured continue to be run through the system and charged full price, generating windfall profits for hospitals.

 

Since CMS has less authority to deal with non-Medicare patients, Congress needs to step in and modernize and reform 340B. Until they do the massive and unsustainable expansion of the program which has taken place in recent years will continue. Expansion would be fine if it were driven by the needs of patients. But it is not. It is drive by the desire of corporate hospitals and the for-profit drugstore chains which whom they have partnered, to pad their bottom line.

 

The purpose of the 340B Drug Discount Program is as valid today as it was 25 years ago. Arguably it is more important because prescription drugs play an ever-increasing role in modern medical care. But if it is going to survive another 25 years it need to be fixed. CMS has taken a good first step to protect some Medicare patients. But other Medicare patients, patients served by other government programs and those patients who have private health insurance or health insurance provided by their employers are not protected. Congress needs to follow the lead of CMS and reform 340B for everyone. I can think of no better 25th birthday present to this worthy program than for Congress to take action to stop those who are abusing it.

 

State Representative Tanner Magee

Louisiana - District 53

Posted on November 20, 2017 and filed under Louisiana.

Citizens for Louisiana Job Creators: Released Prisoner Arrested for Armed Robbery

Photo source: WWL

Photo source: WWL

Just a week after the Department of Corrections released 1900 criminals,WWL TV reports a habitual offender -- who was supposed to be in jail for 12 years but got out in 3 years -- robbed a man at gunpoint.

Governor Edwards' staffer, James Leblanc, indicated we needed to give the "reforms" time to work. Perhaps we could suggest that anyone who has SIXTY FOUR counts of burglary NOT be set free when Governor Edwards and the Department of Corrections decides to let the next batch of 1500+ criminals out of jail on December 1. 

As we said last week, lock your doors and as U.S. Senator Kennedy has suggested "you ought to own a handgun just in case."

Posted on November 9, 2017 and filed under John Bel Edwards, Louisiana.

Paper: Filing lawsuits not a solution to coastal erosion

Photo source: The Advocate

Photo source: The Advocate

Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states need to find constructive ways to mitigate the coastal erosion problems, but a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court indicates that filing lawsuits against the oil and gas industry may not be a viable way to solve this problem.

On Oct. 30, the Supreme Court refused to revive a Louisiana flood protection board’s lawsuit seeking to make oil, gas and pipeline companies pay for decades of damage to coastal wetlands.

The suit was filed by the Southwest Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. The suit claimed that the industry’s dredging of canals in coastal drilling areas contributed to the loss of wetlands that form a hurricane buffer for New Orleans.

Federal courts, however, blocked the suit. A federal district judge in New Orleans in 2015 ruled that federal and state law provided no avenue by which the board could bring the suit. Then the appeals court in New Orleans agreed with the lower court, which led to the Supreme Court ruling.

Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, had this response to the ruling: “It’s three strikes and you’re out! The SLFPA-E lawsuit was dismissed in a U.S. District Court, refused by a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and denied by the U.S. Supreme Court. These and similar frivolous lawsuits against oil and gas companies are destroying Louisiana’s competitiveness to attract future investment. We are thankful for the Supreme Court’s ruling and will continue to hold true to our convictions, fighting to ensure that the oil and gas industry remains a cornerstone of Louisiana’s culture.”

The oil and gas industry has been a bedrock part of the Louisiana economy for over a century, and has brought prosperity to many Louisiana families. Oil and gas production is also vital to the whole nation.

But Louisiana and other coastal states also need help with mitigating the coastal erosion problem, and since the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked this avenue of funding, it should be up to the federal government to live up its responsibility to provide the funding needed to restore the coastal parishes.

Source: The American Press

Posted on November 9, 2017 and filed under Louisiana, Oil and Gas.

Louisiana Citizens for Job Creators: AG Landry Victory Against Transgender Expansion

Photo source: LA Attorney General

Photo source: LA Attorney General

Attorney General Jeff Landry has won yet another legal battle against Governor John Bel Edwards. Landry challenged Edward’s executive order expanding LGBT benefits for state workers. Landry believed the order exceeded Edward’s authority. 
 
A three-judge panel of Louisiana’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeal ruled unanimously. The executive order was an unconstitutional attempt to expand state law.
 
Landry said, “We have stated all along that the Governor must follow the law, just like everybody else. This ruling affirms a notion of basic civics that the Legislature makes the law, not the Governor.”
 
We commend Attorney General Landry on his on this victory as he continues to execute his authority as the state’s chief legal officer.
 

A Glimpse Into "Honor Code's" Prison Reform

Source: Louisiana Dept. of Corrections

Source: Louisiana Dept. of Corrections

In case you missed this one, our own "Honor Code", John Bel Edwards, has decided that one of the most important things that needs to be done in this state is prison reform.  As a result, countless number of prisoners will be released.  As with most everything that a liberal might try, there will always be the problem cases.  One particular case would be this:

Law enforcement agencies in this area are especially worried because of the early release recently of a “career criminal” who has since been indicted for first-degree murder in the shooting death of a 10-year-old boy. He also wounded a 17-year-old whom authorities say may never walk again.

The accused man was paroled after serving 24 years of a 99-year prison sentence for armed robbery and other crimes. No explanation has been offered as to how he managed to be paroled.

One can only hope that the "governor" sees what a potential release of criminals will do for society and the citizens of Louisiana.  We urge him to carefully look at each and every case.

Source: Prisoner releases raising questions

Posted on October 17, 2017 and filed under John Bel Edwards, Louisiana.