Baton Rouge legislators and citizens gathered on the steps of the capitol regarding the proposed closure of the Baton Rouge General Mid-city Hospital Emergency Room. Almost before the diverse crowd could finish saying “amen” for Victory and Power Ministries Pastor Ralph Moore’s invocation, Senator Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb was at the mike laying out the problem with closing the only emergency facility for people in the heart of the city pointing out if you work downtown, live or work for Exxon or business in the chemical corridor you are in a “Jindel Death Zone”. The District 14 democrat called the plan to shut down the last critical care facility in central Baton Rouge “bad government”. “We know that if Mr. Jindal gets sick he has a helicopter at his disposal,” Dorsey-Colomb said.
Republican Governor Bobby Jindal has refused Medicare Expansion causing millions to be without insurance coverage. One colleague of then legislator Bobby Jindal reminded those present at the rally that he had helped push LaCHIP through in 1998. It is a Medicaid expansion program for children.
State Representative Edward “Ted” James was on hand for what he considers and emergency situation. The lawyer and McKinley High School grad wishes Earl K. Long had not been shut down before he was elected to office. The District 101 representative says he wants to work to help fix this problem.
Father Richard R. Andrus pastor of Saint Paul Catholic Church told the crowd, “the Gospel demands justice”. He also said that in the case of heart attack or a stroke every moment counts. “Our Lives Matter!,” Andrus said.
Senator Sharon Weston Broome served as moderator of the rally and although the Baton Rouge delegation has not thus far been included in the conversations for solutions they have made individual suggestions including having major corporations like Exxon donate annually to the General. Another suggestion was to readjust the state contribution to the B.R. General emergency room to be on par with its contribution to Our Lady of the Lake Regional ME=edical Center. A stop gap suggestion was to extend the shutdown date beyond 60 days. Several participants suggested that all urgent care clinics operate 24 hours a day until the crises is over. Most agreed the best long term solution was to have Go. Jindal accept the federal Medicaid expansion.
By Stephanie Anthony
Feature Image: Student activist Blair Brown holds sign with a question at the February 11, 2015 rally at the Capitol regarding the closing of the Baton Rouge General Hospital Emergency Room. photos by Stephanie Anthony