Friday, December 28, 2012

Tell Jindal To Stop Balancing the Budget on the Backs of Louisiana Women and Their Families


December 24, 2012

The Jindal Administration is continuing its pattern of balancing the state budget on the backs of Louisiana women and their children, according to the President of the local chapter of The National Organization for Women. Jindal has proposed, effective February 1, 2013, to cut Medicaid funding to all hospice programs and to all Early Childhood Supports and Services programs in Louisiana. 

“Women, who are predominately the primary caregivers for the terminally ill and for emotionally disabled children, will be the most significantly impacted by the elimination of these two programs,” said Charlotte Klasson. “Additionally, those programs, which employ nurses, social workers, counselors, and other health care providers, represent a service staff comprised of significantly more women than men whose jobs will be lost with these cuts.”

In an earlier statement regarding Jindal’s rejection of the Medicaid Expansion component of the Affordable Care Act, Klasson pointed out that over half of all Medicaid dollars are used to support nursing homes where most of the residents as well as most of the employees are women.

The cuts to the Early Childhood Supports and Services programs will impact children from lower income families and children who have been exposed to violence in their homes or neighborhoods, according to Dr. Mary Margaret Gleason, co-clinical director of the program, in the Times-Picayune article dated December 21, 2012. “These low income families are overwhelmingly headed by single women and the services provided in these programs are staffed predominantly by women,” said Klasson. “It’s difficult to know the exact numbers because apparently no one in the Governor’s Office has bothered to determine how many women and women of color might be affected before ordering the cuts, but it has been estimated that about 85% of the primary caregivers of children in the ECSS programs are female and approximately 65% of those are African American, and over 50% of the employees of the ECSS programs are women. It is hard to discern if this pattern of budget cuts that disproportionately impact women, and especially women of color, is a mistake resulting from ignorance or if Governor Jindal is deliberately waging a war on the women of Louisiana.”

NOW is calling on women and groups that represent children and women’s interest to contact the Governor and their own legislative representatives to ask that additional consideration be given to the impact these cuts and other fiscal decisions by the Governor have on women and children before finalizing these budgetary decisions.

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