Early Steps co-pay bill fails

Show caption
/

The Louisiana House rejected legislation Monday that would require some parents of developmentally delayed children to pay for therapy and treatment from the state.

The House voted 50-43 for the legislation, which is 20 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage of the fee bill.

House Bill 375 would create a cost-sharing mechanism under which parents would be charged based on annual income and family size for services offered through the Early Steps program.

Those families making up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level would not have been required to contribute.

State Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-Monroe, said the fee will help maintain the essential program which had been threatened with eradication last year because of state budget problems. He estimated it would raise $1.7 million annually.

State Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner, said she has heard from people concerned about the level of co-pay that could result in 200 fewer families participating in the program. “You are dealing with an issue of the working poor,” she said.

Hoffman said the copayments would be capped.