House wants to review deals

A push to require legislative approval of any agreements that would privatize an LSU-run public hospital won Louisiana House backing in a 69-28 vote Wednesday.

The legislation by state Rep. Jared Brossett, D-New Orleans, would direct the LSU Board of Supervisors to submit the lease arrangements to the joint House and Senate budget committee for approval before they could begin.

“These public hospitals throughout the state of Louisiana affect every member of this body,” Brossett said. “This is a critical moment in time for health care.”

House Concurrent Resolution 74 heads next to the Senate, which a day earlier approved similar legislation.

Gov. Bobby Jindal is seeking to privatize all but one of the nine university-run hospitals that care for the poor and uninsured and provide much of the state’s medical training. But lawmakers have questioned if the agreements will preserve patient care and education.

The Jindal administration has said it doesn’t intend to seek a vote from lawmakers.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, voted against the resolution. He said the governor’s budget proposal for next year assumes significant savings from the privatization agreements, and he said the state would have deeper budget problems if lawmakers tried to slow the leases.