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AFP’s Campaign To Reject Health Care For 250,000 Kicks Into High Gear

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Koch Bros. Group Launched “Stop The Madness” Campaign To Lobby Lawmakers To Kill Medicaid Expansion & Have Already Held At Least Seven Events To Kill Medicaid Expansion

Bill Cassidy & Bobby Jindal In Lockstep With AFP – Cassidy Even Likened Medicaid To “Heroin Addiction”

New Orleans, Louisiana – Louisiana’s state legislative session launched yesterday and the Koch brothers group Americans for Prosperity’s (AFP) “Stop the Madness” campaign to reject health care for 250,000 is kicking into high gear.

According to AFP, the group that is “skirt[ing] around the intent of federal laws” in order to spend at least $2.6 million to air false negative attack ads against Sen. Mary Landrieu, killing Medicaid expansion in the Louisiana Legislature is  “the group’s top priority.” Since February AFP has held at least seven events aimed at lobbying state lawmakers to preserve the “Jindal Gap” created by Gov. Bobby Jindal and Congressman Bill Cassidy’s rejection of federal funds to expand Medicaid at virtually no cost, and it’s clear that AFP is only getting started.

Much like AFP’s efforts to kill bipartisan flood insurance, their campaign to kill Medicaid expansion has real consequences for 250,000 working Louisianians, who otherwise cannot afford health care.

And when it comes to rejecting health care for working Louisianians, AFP, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Bill Cassidy are marching in lockstep. Gov. Jindal has repeatedly rebuked legislative efforts to expand Medicaid. Meanwhile Cassidy is more than simply opposed to expanding Medicaid – he’s even likened the program to “heroin addiction.”

“AFP is spending millions of dollars to air false negative attack ads against Sen. Mary Landrieu while peddling an agenda to kill bipartisan flood insurance reform and reject health care for 250,000 that is plainly anti-Louisiana,” said Campaign for Louisiana Communications Director Andrew Zucker. “When it comes to rejecting health care for 250,000 in Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, Bill Cassidy and AFP – backed by the billionaire Koch brothers – are three peas in a pod. If they really wanted to ‘stop the madness,’ Jindal, Cassidy and AFP would admit that their policy agenda is hurting working Louisianians and expand access to health care for those who desperately need it.”

The Koch brothers have endorsed Bill Cassidy and he’s the beneficiary of AFP’s multi-million dollar ad campaign against Sen. Landrieu. Cassidy’s public relationship with AFP dates back to at least November of 2013, when Cassidy literally thanked a staff member of the group for their ads while campaigning at one of their events. He conveniently left the AFP event off of his official campaign schedule. And Cassidy opposes the DISCLOSE Act, legislation that would force groups like AFP to stand by their attack ads and disclose their donors.

BACKGROUND

Americans For Prosperity Announced A Seven City Tour To Defeat Medicaid Expansion In Louisiana, Calling It The Group’s Top Priority. “A national conservative group hoping to gin up opposition to Democrats’ effort to expand Medicaid in Louisiana kicked off a seven-city tour with a meeting in Baton Rouge Tuesday night (Feb. 11). Americans For Prosperity, which advocates for right-leaning fiscal policies across the country, started a local state chapter in Louisiana last month. Organizers said the group’s top priority is defeating Medicaid expansion in the Louisiana Legislature. ‘Medicaid is the one part of Obamacare that the [U.S.] Supreme Court has said states have the right to reject,’ said Phillip Joffrion, who runs the Louisiana chapter of the organization.” [Times-Picayune, 2/11/14]

Americans For Prosperity Sent Letters To Every Louisiana State Lawmaker Asking Them To Pledge Opposition To Medicaid Expansion. “Last week, Americans for Prosperity sent letters to all 144 Louisiana state lawmakers, asking them to sign a pledge opposing any legislation that would grow the state Medicaid program, which provides health insurance to the poor. The group intends to release a list of all the legislators who have signed onto the pledge on March 10, the first day of the state’s 2014 legislative session. ‘We have already had legislators that have started to respond and send in their signed pledges,’ Joffrion said.“ [Times-Picayune, 2/11/14]

Cassidy Called Medicaid Expansion “A Lousy Idea” And “A Lie To The American People,” Citing A Cancer Patient Who Lost Her Doctor Because Of Low Medicaid Reimbursement Rates. In July 2013, Politico reported: “It can be easy to forget that health care policy involves real people with real illnesses. Rep. Bill Cassidy delivered a reminder Thursday, describing his follow-up call with an ovarian cancer patient profiled by the New York Times in 2010. The woman lost her doctor when he stopped taking Medicaid patients due to low reimbursement rates. ‘She died,’ Cassidy exclaimed, kicking the underside of a table in the Speaker’s Lobby, where he was seated. He says the story shows why expanding Medicaid under the health care law is a lousy idea. ‘And this is the program we’re expanding?…Those folks who think they put in wise public policy…are pretending they’re providing that woman with cancer in Michigan access to health care is a lie to the American people.’” [Politico7/12/13]

  • Cassidy Labeled Medicaid Expansion A “Prisoner’s Bargain.” In February 2013, The Daily Comet reported: “Under the law, Medicaid will be expanded to include all residents with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line or an income of $30,675 for a family of four in 2012. The expansion is federally funded for the first three years, but after that it would be up to states to support expanded Medicaid. While this seems like a good deal, Cassidy said it is a ‘prisoner’s bargain’ for Louisiana.” [Daily Comet2/21/13]

Cassidy: Medicaid Is “Like A Heroin Addiction” For States. In December 2012, The Advocate reported on a lecture Cassidy gave at George Washington University: “‘Medicaid is like a heroin addiction’ for states, Cassidy said.” [The Advocate, 12/9/12]

Cassidy Called Medicaid “Welfare Medicine.” “Now, opponents of repeal argue that this gives Americans insurance, but what in truth it often gives is Medicaid. Now, Medicaid is a Federal-State program, which is often called ‘welfare medicine,’ and it is a program which is destroying State budgets.” [Library of Congress, Congressional Record, 1/19/11]

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