Bobby Jindal’s health care hostages

Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal

By Robert Mann

Gov. Bobby Jindal has deplored the controversial prisoner exchange that President Barack Obama recently made to secure the release of an American soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held by the Taliban in Afghanistan for almost five years. “Refusing to negotiate with terrorists makes our people safer,” Jindal wrote in an op-ed on the Fox News website. “Terrorists all over the world need to know that our interaction with them will be limited solely to our effort to destroy them.”

Who doesn’t hate the idea of an organization that would take hostages to achieve its political goals, right? Come to think of it, perhaps Jindal would know something about that because, in pursuit of the presidency, he’s essentially holding hostage about 240,000 Louisianians— that is, his state’s working poor who have no health insurance.

Under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government is eager to fund 100 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid to Louisiana’s working poor for the first three years and then 90 percent thereafter. As everyone surely knows by now, Jindal refuses the deal, saying it would cost the state too much.

Not content with that specious argument, he has also disparaged these hard-working hostages, suggesting they are shiftless moochers looking for a government handout. “Soon there will be more people riding in the cart than people pulling the cart,” Jindal wrote last year about these working poor citizens who, before Jindal suggested otherwise, probably assumed their governor believed they possessed some dignity.

Actually, when describing Jindal’s appalling and callous disregard of Louisiana’s working poor, “hostage taker” isn’t the correct phrase. That implies that Jindal might actually be willing to negotiate for something in return for the release of his health care captives. In this case, it doesn’t appear that Jindal wants anything other than the White House, which the Democrats certainly won’t give him if he relents and expands Medicaid.

Indeed, Jindal is unwilling to do anything to affect the release of the citizens he’s holding in his special health care purgatory. He and his allies resisted all efforts to help them in the recent legislative session. That’s because these citizens are far more useful to him as prisoners in his quest for higher office, abundant proof that he hates Obamacare so much that he’s willing to punish 240,000 of his state’s citizens in order to make the point.

Continue reading on NOLA.com at this link.

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4 Responses to Bobby Jindal’s health care hostages

  1. John Bel Edwards says:

    It is worse than you painted it. Jindal concocted a scheme to defraud the federal government out of Medicaid participation dollars for charity/private partner hospital reimbursements by illegally using up front lease payments that were and are ineligible to use as “match” and has exposed us to $507M in future clawbacks – all in an effort to draw down federal money at 62 cents on the dollar to treat the same population (uninsured working people forced to use our privatized LSU/charity hospitals) that the federal government wants to provide 100 cents on the dollar for and that would never fall below 90 cents on the dollar. And it is our own federal tax dollars we would be getting back.
    This is crazy.
    By the way, even though CMS denied the advance lease payments as being eligible for match in a letter dated May 2, 2014, under legislative leadership and at jindal’s insistence, a majority of the legislature decided to spend an additional $38M in the current fiscal year (this month) from advance lease payments thus adding $62M to the size of our problem.
    Perfectly ridiculous.

    John Bel Edwards
    Edwards & Associates Law Firm, L.L.C.
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  2. Milford Fryer says:

    The health care prevaricators have, once again, been proved wrong. Not only has the Affordable Care Act not destroyed the economy and thrown people out of work, the latest unemployment figures show employment at pre-recession figures, the latest growth was led by jobs in the health care sector. Of course, one month into the program’s full implementation won’t set a precedent, but it is at least an indicator.
    And in North Carolina, a Republican mayor joined forces with Democrats in begging the governor and legislature to take the Medicaid funds. Not only are poor people being denied health care in huge numbers, that lack of health care is forcing his, and apparently others, rural hospital into closure. When that happens, nobody gets health care even if they can pay.
    I take Gov. Jindal at his word that he is a Christian. That being the case, the 240,000 victims of his may cause him some problems, based on Matthew 25. Like Desi told Lucy: Gov, you got some splaining to do.

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  3. Stephen Winham says:

    Just as he did when he tried to de-rail passenger train service between N. O. and B. R. and rejected other opportunities to use federal funds to Louisiana’s advantage, Governor Jindal continues to use the excuse of higher future costs as his rationale for rejecting Medicaid expansion. We have to seriously question how he reconciles annual budget recommendations that clearly create recurring budget holes with his position on Medicaid expansion, even if we totally ignore the human side of the equation.

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    • Milford Fryer says:

      The sad thing is that so much of the money that gets turned down doesn’t save the government a dime; it has been appropriated, so if one state turns it down, it goes to somebody else. We send money to Washington, and we don’t want to get some back?

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