37,000 letters are being mailed out to recipients of four Medicaid programs that reads “Because of possible budget cuts, these programs may end as of July 1, 2018.” 20,000 of those recipients are nursing home residents who could be thrown out as a result. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says after multiple failed attempts to fund the programs, people need to start preparing for the worst.

"We don't want to be doing this, obviously. We've waited for as long as we possible could but we feel that it's appropriate and necessary to forewarn these recipients of what may be coming," Dardenne said.

But many Republicans balk at the released letters.

They say the letters amount to a political stunt. Haughton Representative Dodie Horton, who voted for the House spending plan that included the Medicaid cuts, says the panic isn’t justified because the process isn’t over.

“It’s not through yet. It’s not gone through the process, and we don’t know, until everything is said and done, we don’t know what the real figure is,” Horton said.

She accused Governor John Bel Edwards of playing politics and using the letters as a scare tactic targeting the state’s most vulnerable.

“I’ve never seen a governor play ‘chicken’ with the lives of our seniors, ever in my lifetime like this one has,” Horton said.

Dardenne hit back at House Republicans who voted for the budget, yet criticized the mailing of the letters, saying this is what the deep budget cuts that fiscal hawks advocate for look like.

“Those who have said, ‘Let’s cut our way out of this problem,’ have presented a budget that imposes these cuts. You can’t just go in and cut this kind of money out of the budget and not expect to have dire consequences,” Edwards said.

Metairie Senator Danny Martiny tried to douse some of the growing fires by letting the 37,000 letter recipients know that the Senate has no intention of passing a budget that cuts their programs.

“Make no mistake. The situation is dire. There’s just not enough money to go around. However, we in the Senate have no intention of putting Medicaid recipients on the streets or closing down medical schools,” Martiny said.

Governor Edwards says he will be holding a press conference Thursday to address the House budget’s appending cuts.

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