Louisiana budget deficit puts state funded health care at risk in the Lake Area

Louisiana budget deficit puts state funded health care at risk in the Lake Area

As the state works to fill a $650,000,000 budget deficit, medical care is on the line.

"Without it, there's a lot of people around here that would die," said Kathlene Edigo, a patient at Moss Memorial. "This is the only help, I can't survive without it.

It's at the place now that you either choose am I going to eat or am I going to buy medicine"

For David and Kathlene Edigo, state-paid health care wasn't in their plan.

"I worked up until two years ago when I got hurt on the job," Edigo said. "I had insurance when it happened if I didn't have this, I probably would be dead by now"

Now, with a number of illnesses, they depend on the care they receive at Moss Memorial, but these aren't the only two who will suffer if the funds don't come through.

"Anytime a hospital of this magnitude closes down, the fact is, people start dying left and right," Edigo said.

Dr. Mohammed Sarwar says many lake area residents will be without care if funding isn't passed. He says hundreds of thousands of people are treated every year at Moss Memorial

"Don't play with the lives of these people," Dr. Sarwar said,"Last year we had 80,000 residents in this place so if you shut down this hospital I don't know what's going to happen with those individuals"

Edigo is telling Louisiana lawmakers, it's time to figure it out.

"If our politicians don't stand up who else is going to do it," Edigo said, "You're giving us a life-and-death situation. How in the world do these people sleep at night knowing that if they cut these medical facilities off these people are going to start dying?"

According to Doctor Sarwar, so many people are treated at Moss Memorial and without the state-funded care, the outlook is bleak.

Edigo knows the budget is not an easy thing to figure out, but he says in Louisiana, the people come first.

"You're not going to fix the budget, not as long as you bicker back-and-forth and nobody in Congress knows what they want. The senators have bills, I get it, they have other things but the first thing that needs to be taken care of is our people"

Doctors and patients recognize it's not just medical care that's on the line.

"I believe that we would lose about 200+ jobs," Sarwar said. "Doctors and nurses that would also put a big impact on the economy and the financial aspect of the city"

Right now there is so much uncertainty with everyone wondering what lawmakers will do to fix the state's bottom line.  Ultimately, they feel it will really boil down to an issue of life and death.

"If we don't provide the care here, they're going to die," said Sarwar.

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