Louisiana must move quickly to avoid damage to its Medicaid program resulting from a sooner-than-expected end to federal assistance, state Treasurer John Kennedy said last week in outlining a 14-step plan.

The end of a temporary hike in federal funding to the state's health care system, implemented after the 2005 hurricanes, will cost the state $860 million from Medicaid's $7.7 billion budget in fiscal 2013. "We don't have years" to develop a solution, he said. "The congressional Medicaid reduction starts in October."

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