Recent editorials from Louisiana newspapers:
The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, on state Medicaid expansion:
The new head of LSU's battered public hospital system acknowledged the obvious recently: Without the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, Louisianians will suffer. If that happens, the state will be to blame.
In a show of partisan solidarity, Gov. Bobby Jindal has said Louisiana will opt out of the Medicaid provision under President Barack Obama's health care plan. The governor argues that the federal budget can't absorb the cost of greater Medicaid spending. On "Meet the Press" in July, he said: "Look, federal dollars aren't free. Those dollars are coming from us, our children, our grandchildren. We're borrowing money from China to spend on government programs we can't afford. The best thing we can do is help people get good-paying jobs instead of giving them federal programs."
The federal debt is massive, and the White House and Congress need to get a grip on spending. But Jindal's primary concern should be what is best for his own people — and thousands of them need a way to pay for medical care. ...
The governor didn't argue after Hurricane Isaac that the state should forgo aid because the federal government is strapped for cash. Nor should he. Isaac visited misery on thousands of residents in south Louisiana, and storm victims need the full array of disaster aid the federal government can provide.
The number of Louisianians without health care is at a crisis level as well. About 20.8 percent of residents — 938,000 people — didn't have health insurance in 2011. Only Texas and Nevada had a higher proportion of uninsured. Jindal's administration could cut into that number significantly by accepting the reimbursement in the Affordable Care Act — and should do so. ...
Dr. Frank Opelka, who took over the LSU hospital system last month, has said that the state is talking to private providers about taking on more uninsured patients to blunt the current round of cuts. But state health officials haven't provided details and couldn't answer lawmakers' pointed questions about what the level of care would be at private hospitals and whether certain treatments would be denied. ...
Opelka seems to understand the illogic of that position. "I don't know how we can handle the underinsured without strong consideration of the Medicaid expansion. I can't do the math and get it to come out where it works," he said. The math doesn't work out. And Jindal should acknowledge that and take the money being offered.
The Daily Comet, Thibodaux, La., on the Boy Scout scandal:
It doesn't get more disturbing and repulsive than this.
"Again and again," The Associated Press reports, "decade after decade, an array of authorities — police chiefs, prosecutors, pastors and local Boy Scout leaders among them — quietly shielded scoutmasters and others accused of molesting children, a newly opened trove of confidential papers shows."
Sadly, the 14,500 pages of secret "perversion files," released by attorneys by order of the Oregon Supreme Court, outline a pattern in which officials put their desire to protect the organization's reputation above the well-being of the children entrusted to their care.
So far, The Courier and Daily Comet have determined that at least three local cases are included among the documents.
In one, a 38-year-old Schriever man who volunteered at a Boy Scouts camp in Bay St. Louis, Miss., was convicted in 1989 of committing sexual battery twice against a high school senior from Metairie, records show.
Another case of sexual abuse involving someone from Cut Off was documented by the Boy Scouts starting in 1995. That case is in a Los Angeles Times online database that includes some of the newly released files along with other court records in cases alleging the abuse of Boy Scouts.
A Napoleonville troop leader was removed from his position in 1970 "due to his advance toward boys" and "poor judgment," according to an abbreviated listing of the Boy Scouts records on a Seattle attorney's website. ...
Portland attorney Kelly Clark released the documents recently on his website, www.kellyclarkattorney.com, which he said was having trouble operating after being swamped by people looking for the information. ...
National Boy Scouts officials say they will look into past cases to, as The Associated Press describes it, "see whether there were times when men they suspected of sex abuse should have been reported to police."
That's the least they can do. ... It must regain the trust that has been squandered by those who, in the name of protecting the organization, damaged it at the expense of innocent children.
The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La., on state West Nile challenges:
With the arrival of autumn, many Louisiana residents might assume that challenges with mosquitoes — and the diseases carried by mosquitoes — are behind us for another year.
But those challenges continue, as we've been reminded by the news of new West Nile virus cases in the state.
Humans can get the West Nile virus when they are bitten by mosquitoes infected with the virus. Many people who contract West Nile virus get no symptoms, but for others, the virus can cause problems ranging from flu-like symptoms to paralysis, brain damage and even death.
This year, Louisiana has recorded the most West Nile cases since 2002, with 312 reported cases and 12 deaths from the disease. In 2002, Louisiana had 328 reported cases of West Nile virus and 24 deaths.
The easiest way to reduce the incidence of West Nile virus is to reduce Louisiana's mosquito population and prevent residents from getting mosquito bites.
That means wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when planning to be outdoors for long periods of time, and using insect repellant, too. Homeowners should also dispose of standing water around their property where mosquitoes can breed. Buckets, flower pots, tin cans and other vessels that catch standing water should be emptied.
We urge all residents to take proper precautions. Clearly, Louisiana residents continue to face dangers from West Nile virus. We hope for the day, perhaps not too far off, when West Nile cases will subside until spring.