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.
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