Hospital Stabilization Fund Passes Senate

May 29, 2013

The Senate signed off on a measure yesterday that aims to restore funding to health care.

Sounds good right?

The opposition, including twenty-plus-year member of the legislature Senator Robert Adley, was quick to point out that approving the measure may back lawmakers into a corner with the budget.

The bill would constitutionally lock-up some funds to draw down more matching contribution from the federal government. But healthcare and higher education are two of the few areas of the budget that aren’t already constitutionally dedicated. Locking-up healthcare means higher education may face more cuts in the future.

Senators rejected a compromise. Adley offered an amendment to lock-up just part of the funding. Senator Sherri Buffington, who fielded the bill for House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, criticized Adley, saying education wasn’t the matter at hand.

"I voted for tuition autonomy. I voted for fee increases, all of those things," Buffington said, "and respectfully to my good friend Sen. Adley, if you wanted to fund higher ed, bring a bill."

"One year from now," Adley warned, "LSU it’s not going to be a tier one university, it’s on the verge of not being there now. And the answer to fix those problems? Bring a bill. I know how you’re going to vote. You’re going to vote to dedicate one more time, and you’re going to regret it. I just can’t make you believe it."

If the House votes to concur with the Senate, the fund will be on a statewide ballot in November of 2014.