Poll Shows Residents Oppose Budget Cuts to Community Hospitals

A statewide poll released by Southern Media & Opinion Research shows more than 77 percent of Louisiana residents oppose any further budget cuts to community hospitals, and nearly 70 percent want to repeal a controversial new tax on medical devices.

“When people are told that a new tax was placed on items like stents and pacemakers, they get upset,” said Paul Salles, LHA President & CEO. “It’s no secret that hospitals are the economic backbone of nearly every community in Louisiana. People recognize that, and want to protect their local hospitals and healthcare jobs.”

Life-saving medical devices often allow people to avoid major surgeries, and improve patients’ quality of life. Stents, pacemakers, dental implants, and knee and hip implants are among the devices that lost their exemption from state taxes in a last-minute move in the 2016 Special Legislative Session.

“We are working with lawmakers to get this fixed,” said Salles. “We have been meeting with legislators the past few weeks to explain why this tax is bad for patients.”

Senate Bill 180 by Sen. J.P. Morrell was introduced this session in an effort to restore the long-standing sales and use tax exemption for medical devices that are used by patients under the supervision of a physician.

“In addition, in this session, the state is grappling with a major budget shortfall that may lead to deeper cuts to hospitals,” said Salles. “Louisiana hospitals cannot bear more cuts or this new tax, and we are committed to working with lawmakers for our patients to ensure they have access to high-quality healthcare 24-7.”