Jindal administration stonewalling and belittling The Louisiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

December 5, 2008

After relentlessly campaigning for transparency in government, Gov. Bobby Jindal and his administration continues to break their word to the public and stonewall public document requests. This time, Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine has taken it to a whole new level, belittling a public records request from the Louisiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics as “a stunt.” Levine told The Advocate’s Marsha Shuler, “These are games that none of us have time to play.”

The health of Louisiana children isn’t “a game” to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is why they’re asking for specifics on the murky health care reform that the Jindal administration is proposing. Levine was an appointee of George W. Bush, and Jindal hired Levine as DHH chief – and now they’re trying to push through this plan before President-elect Barack Obama takes office. To date, the Jindal administration has only issued a policy paper on its proposal, and continues to keep lawmakers, hospitals and medical associations in the dark on the specifics of its plan.

Pediatric organizations aren’t the only ones clamoring for some transparency and accountability from the Jindal administration. Two weeks ago, former Health and Hospitals Secretary Fred Cerise, director of the LSU Healthcare Services Division, told Gannett’s Mike Hasten, “The details of the plan and its impact on our ability to deliver services is still unclear. It’s (also) unclear how funding would flow, so I’ll reserve judgment.”

Why is this so hard for the Jindal administration? Everyone wants meaningful health care reform. So if Jindal and Levine believe so strongly in their plan, why won’t they honor public records requests that show how it was crafted, who it will benefit, and how it will be administered?

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