BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana  senators are relieved about the limited impact of $70 million in budget cuts on the state health department, after grim forecasts that services could face deep slashing.

But Senate Finance Committee members questioned Monday whether the "savings" estimated by Gov. John Bel Edwards will pan out — or create budget gaps that must be filled later.

Committee Chairman Eric LaFleur and Sen. Jim Fannin both noted lawmakers heard similar talk during former Gov. Bobby Jindal's tenure, of savings that often didn't show up.

Edwards announced the latest round of budget cuts last week, saying all the reductions will fall on the health department. He said $40 million comes from lower-than-expected Medicaid costs and more efficient administration.

Edwards' chief financial adviser Jay Dardenne says he believes the numbers are realistic.


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