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As Insurance Exchange Opens In Louisiana, Cassidy’s Shutdown Is a Lesson In Political Opportunism

TO:     Interested Parties

FR:     Andrew Zucker, Campaign for Louisiana Communications Director

DA:     Tuesday, October 1, 2013

RE:     As Insurance Exchange Opens In Louisiana, Cassidy’s Shutdown Over Delaying Health Care Reforms He Tried To Pass In ’07 Is a Lesson In Political Opportunism

If you’ve listened to Congressman Bill Cassidy discuss the Affordable Care Act since launching his campaign for Senate, you might think that the sky is falling – and at such a rate that last night Cassidy helped shut down the government in a last-ditch effort to block the law’s implementation.

But just six years ago, Bill Cassidy had a very different opinion about the reforms at the heart of what he now calls “Obamacare.”

As Louisiana media have reported, in 2007 then-state Sen. Cassidy campaigned on a platform to make “quality healthcare more accessible and more affordable.”

State Sen. Cassidy’s plan was to “increase the portability of health insurance” and allow workers to keep their insurance when they switch jobs. His plan “emphasize[d] public health and preventative care” in order to lower overall health care costs.

Most notably, Cassidy called for the creation of “a statewide Health Insurance Exchange to lower insurance premiums, decrease administrative costs and allow flexibility in which benefits workers choose.”

Shortly after his reelection, Cassidy introduced Senate Bill 307, legislation to create a “Louisiana Health Insurance Exchange” where any individuals could shop for an insurance plan that worked best for them. SB 307 even planned to offset the cost of insurance premiums for low-income Louisianans through providing tax credits or other subsidies to make insurance more affordable.

If Cassidy’s 2007 legislation sounds eerily similar to the Affordable Care Act, and the health insurance exchange it created that went live this morning, that’s because it is, making the central premise of Cassidy’s campaign for Senate – his opposition to “Obamacare” – nothing more than a shameful lesson in political opportunism.

It’s not just Democrats who think so. Republicans, including Cassidy’s opponent Rob Maness, have taken him to task and described his exchange legislation as “Cassidycare.”

The bottom line is this: Bill Cassidy just shut down the government in order to block implementation of the same health care reforms he introduced as a state senator in 2007, before the president even took office.

As voters learn more about Bill Cassidy’s record of recklessly helping to shut down the government for no reason other than blocking the same health care reforms he tried to pass into law just six years ago, it only reinforces his growing reputation as someone who can’t be counted on to fight for Louisiana families.