Hospitals offer to share in cost of La. Medicaid expansion

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KNOE 8 News/AP) - As Louisiana struggles with budget troubles, private hospitals are offering lawmakers a way to draw down more federal health care dollars for patient care.

But that's only if the money is used to expand coverage through the Medicaid program.

The proposal was developed by the Louisiana Hospital Association and filed by Republican House Speaker Chuck Kleckley.

It would let private hospitals share in Louisiana's cost for the Medicaid expansion allowed under the federal health overhaul. In turn, the move would help the cash-strapped state bring in more money to fill gaps in the health budget.

Gov. Bobby Jindal opposes the expansion. But he couldn't veto the type of legislation Kleckley filed. Kleckley says the legislation could set up a payment mechanism for Louisiana's next governor, to be chosen this fall.