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MEMO: LA 5th District Election Shows Bill Cassidy’s Opposition To Expanding Medicaid Is A Political Loser

TO:  Interested Parties
FR:  Andrew Zucker, Campaign for Louisiana Communications Director
DA:  Tuesday, November 19, 2013
RE:  LA 5th District Election Shows Bill Cassidy’s Opposition To Expanding Medicaid Is A Political Loser  

What do New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Virginia Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe and Louisiana Congressman-elect Vance McAllister all have in common? Each opposed shutting down the government. Each campaigned on expanding Medicaid for tens of thousands in their states or districts. And each were winners at the ballot box in recent weeks.

In the Louisiana fifth-district congressional special election, Vance McAllister embraced expanding Medicaid and “said the move is necessary because it would provide coverage” to hundreds of thousands of Louisianians. McAllister didn’t just endorse expanding insurance for hundreds of thousands of Louisianians; he used the issue as the main point of contrast between him and his opponent over the final weeks of the election.

Support for Medicaid expansion was Vance McAllister’s closer. And he won by 20 percentage points – a landslide win.

His overwhelming victory supports what polls have indicated for months: voters don’t want to repeal Obamacare, like Sen. Mary Landrieu they want to fix it so that it works for as many Louisianians as possible, and they support expanding insurance through Medicaid at virtually no cost to taxpayers. In fact one such poll by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies showed that Louisianians support Medicaid expansion by a staggering 55 to 23 percent margin.

Not only is support for Medicaid expansion a political winner, it’s also the right thing to do.

While states that did expand Medicaid report huge numbers of new enrollees in the program – nearly 40,000 in Kentucky and almost 65,000 in Arkansas – Cassidy’s opposition to the program is well documented, and his incendiary comments about it are out of touch with Louisiana families.

  • Though he once authored legislation to create Cassidycare health insurance exchanges, legislation that also called for a potential expansion of Medicaid, Cassidy has recently likened the program to “heroin addiction” for states.
  • He has called Medicaid expansion “a lie to the American people.”
  • He has even described it as “prisoner’s bargain.”

Cassidy isn’t just opposed to expanding Medicaid today; he’s vehemently against it. As other Republicans are breaking party lines to expand Medicaid for tens of thousands of their constituents, Bill Cassidy is putting politics first and opposing expanding insurance for Louisianians without offering any sort of solution beyond boilerplate talking points.

Between Bill Cassidy’s inexplicable 180 when it comes to health care reform, opposition to expanding health insurance for nearly 250 thousand Louisianians and refusal to offer a substantive solution that would insure those who otherwise can’t afford health insurance, Cassidy has latched onto an issue that is a clear political loser, and also reinforces his growing reputation as a politician who can’t be trusted to fight for Louisiana.