The Louisiana Medicaid forecast for the 2013-14 fiscal year revealed that the program has a $50 million budget gap that state health officials need to close. They are asking the Louisiana's joint budget committee to fill the hole with cash, rather than cuts. DHH Undersecretary Jerry Phillips wants the action to be taken in the spring legislative session.

Phillips believe the request is reasonable because legislators would not have to find all $50 million in the state coffers. Instead, if lawmakers and Governor Jindal's administration pony up $19 million, that money can be used to draw down federal matching money to zero the balance.

According to Phillips, the deficit was created by two eventualities that DHH could not anticipate:

1) A federal court order is mandating that Medicaid cover certain therapy services for children with autism and other developmental disorders. The estimated cost for the number of people requiring these services is $30.7 million.

2) Under The Affordable Health Care Act  (also called Obamacare), a tax is imposed on managed care organizations who participate in state Medicaid programs. The estimated cost to Louisiana is $19.7 million.