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Lawmakers must change tactics on trafficking fight

If state elected officials wish to protect younger adults from sex trafficking, they likely will have to take another approach than a challenged law that prevents 18- to 21-year-olds from employment as nude dancers.

Act 395 passed this year that disallows those under 21 from engaging in that activity in establishments that serve alcohol. Three women anonymously sued, saying the age limit arbitrarily proscribed their rights of free expression. Spuriously, they claim failure of equal protection because they allege the law singles out females, but statute does not limit the restriction to women.

U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier granted injunctive relief to them, with the case pending. Although the state points out, in seeking to have the plaintiffs’ names revealed, the contradiction of using pseudonyms because in the original filing the women claim they do not see their constitutionally-protected activity as stigmatic yet claim stigmatism from having their names known, that does not alter the basic jurisprudence here that indicates the law would be struck down on the precedent that nude dancing by adults has constitutional protection as a form of expression, whether for compensation.


Senate pipsqueak hopefuls imagine conspiracies

The B-Team of Louisiana’s 2016 U.S. Senate race seems moving right along from the absurd to the paranoid in response to selections by the Council for a Better Louisiana’s Oct. 18 debate, to be covered by Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

It started with minor candidate Democrat Josh Pellerin fulminating against pollsters for usually not including his name in their choices. Now it’s other minor candidates spinning additional wild tales of conspiracy that purportedly keep them out of these televised forums.

If you’re a down-on-you-luck lawyer, better hook up with no party former legislator Troy Hebert, because he’ll throw plenty of frivolous business your way. Having already sued a pollster for not identifying him in a survey as without party, later dropping that, now he’s suing CABL and LPB for excluding him from the debate. CABL rules, changed this year, do not unreasonably outline that it will invite candidates who have polled at least 5 percent in an independent survey and who have raised a million bucks for election.


LA continues experiment with shaky hospital operator

For now the experiment in health care provision in north Louisiana appears it will continue, between the state when in between a rock and a hard place and Shreveport's Biomedical Research Foundation that took an opportunity to increase its relevance.

Three years ago the BRF, which at the time had as its only direct medical provision experience running a Positron Emission Tomography scanner, expanded its revenue base by a factor of over 50 when the Gov. Bobby Jindal Administration chose it to run the Louisiana State University hospital division that included state charity hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe. No local providers then seemed interested, so the BRF became the only non-hospital operator of the hospitals shifted out from state control.

When after state budgeting for fiscal year 2014 had concluded Congress abruptly increased the state’s Medicaid reimbursement proportion, sensing the break should expire that afforded Louisiana as a result of the hurricane disasters of 2005 to pay a discounted rate, Jindal had to respond quickly to the sudden, huge extra expenses on the horizon. With no model of such a transition available and little time in which to formulate one, the Jindal Administration did a remarkable job in securing operators on reasonable financial terms.


Democrat candidates confused, ignorant on expansion

As if voters needed a reminder why not to vote for either major Democrat candidate for Louisiana’s U.S. Senate seat this fall, along comes one in the form of discussion about a major health care change under Democrat Pres. Barack Obama.

When asked recently about Medicaid expansion, which Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards inflicted upon the state although a Republican-led legislature idiotically put the loaded gun in his hands, the major Republican candidates – two of them physicians – correctly reacted negatively. They pointed out that, as research has demonstrated, Medicaid outcomes at best are no better than the care clients received when uninsured, if not worse, despite much more taxpayer expense. They also noted that its low reimbursement rates do nothing to stop the shrinking of the provider pool that makes access to care less and less likely. They additionally said that major programmatic reforms, likely in the direction of greater patient choice and responsibility, had to occur to improve health care provision to the poor.

All true, yet completely lost on the two Democrats. Of the pair, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell merely offered a confused rationale that displayed little command of the facts. Stupidly he claimed “It makes health care available to people,” obviously not knowing that since 1986 federal law has required that providers deliver appropriate care to those in an emergency situation. Nor does he understand (perhaps because he’s in the insurance business, although he makes most of his money these days off of oil and gas) that health insurance and health care are two different things, oblivious to the fact that Medicaid expansion causes more people to flood emergency rooms for episodic care not preventive in nature because the supply of providers continues to dwindle.