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Posts tagged ‘Law of the Land’

Jindal Punishes Louisiana Businesses and Families with ACA Obstructionism

Governor Bobby Jindal has emerged as the Republicans’ lead obstructionist to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He has refused the participate in the formation of a health insurance exchange to serve Louisiana residents, families and businesses. He has declared that he will not allow Louisiana to participate in the expansion of Medicaid made possible through the Act, thus denying health care coverage to hundreds of thousands of Louisiana citizens.

New-LDP-Logo-291x300Governor Jindal will appear with Governor Howard Dean on NBC News’ Meet the Press on Sunday, July 1.

“It is clear that the Governor has chosen political grandstanding over the well-being of the Louisiana people,” said LDP Chairwoman Karen Carter Peterson. “He has chosen to punish Louisiana citizens, families, businesses and health care providers in a brazen attempt to bolster his national political ambition.

“Governor Jindal’s politically motivated obstructionism on ACA reduces Louisiana businesses, citizens, families and health care providers to second class citizenship by denying them access to the full benefits of the law, which the Supreme Court upheld this week,” Carter Peterson said. 

By refusing to participate in the formation of the Louisiana Health Insurance Exchange, Governor Jindal has forfeited the state’s rightful role to help tailor the exchange to work best for Louisiana businesses and working families. A well-operating exchange would introduce transparency and better pricing to the Louisiana health insurance market. The state also forfeits its opportunity to define the kinds of health plans that can be offered in Louisiana due to Jindal’s obstructionism.

The Governor’s politically motivated grandstanding on the health insurance exchange punishes Louisianans while boosting his national prospects.

By refusing to allow Louisiana to participate in the expansion of the Medicaid program, the Governor is denying health insurance coverage to at least 360,000 working Louisiana residents who cannot afford health insurance. Again, he has done this in order to raise his national profile.

Governor Jindal is punishing more than 360,000 working Louisiana residents in order to advance his political ambition.

The Affordable Care Act is Good for What Ails Louisiana

Louisiana has consistently ranked among the states with the worst health care outcomes in the country, primarily because we are a low-income state with high levels of poverty and a large percentage of working age adults without health insurance.

The Affordable Care Actresponds to Louisiana’s needs in a number of ways. It is already improving the lives of Louisiana residents. Here are some facts about how Louisiana residents have already benefited from the Act:

  • More than 53,000 young adults in our state between the ages of 18 and 26 gained coverage as a result of being able to remain on their parents’ insurance plans.
  • 275,000 Louisiana women now have access to free preventive services, including mammograms, bone density scans and cervical cancer screenings.
  • Seniors in Louisiana have saved more than $53.8 million on prescription drug coverage.
  • More than 60,000 small businesses in Louisiana are eligible for tax credits to make health coverage for their employees more affordable.
  • About 360,000 working adults in Louisiana will be covered by the expansion of Medicaid, reducing emergency room use and eliminating the uncompensated care that is draining resources from our hospitals, doctors and other providers.
  • The national deficit will be reduced by over $1 trillion over 20 years, according to a nonpartisan analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.

Governor Jindal’s politically motivated obstructionism will deny Louisiana families and businesses the full benefits of the Act that citizens in other states will derive.

Email Meet the Press host David Gregory, calling on him to ask Governor Jindal directly: “Why do you insist on relegating the people of his state to second class citizens status through your refusal to participate in key elements of this law?”

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Originally published: June 30, 2012

The Price of Jindal’s Ambition

The ink was barely dry on Thursday’s United States Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act before Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced his intention to deny tens of thousands of Louisiana businesses and hundreds of thousands of Louisiana citizens the benefits of that act.

TPM-logoTalking Points Memo reports that in a national press call with other Republican governors, Jindal declared his intent to pretend that the law does not exist.

“We’re not going to start implementing Obamacare,” Jindal said flatly. Under his watch, Louisiana will not set up any of the required state heath care exchanges where, starting in 2014, Americans will be able to buy subsidized private health insurance.

Despite the Supreme Court decision declaring the Affordable Care Act the law of the land, Jindal’s early statements are stark stark examples of him putting his political ambitions ahead of the interests of the people of the state he was elected to govern.

By any objective measure, the Affordable Care Act is good for what ails Louisiana. We are a state with a large percentage of working age adults (19-64) who do not have health insurance.

Blocking the Exchange

New-LDP-Logo-291x300The ACA fixes that in two ways. First, it creates health insurance exchanges in each state where businesses and consumers will be able to shop for their health insurance in a transparent market place. Think of it as an online comparative shopping site. Users will be able to compare apples-to-apples when buying health insurance, comparing coverages, premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.

Under the provisions of the law, these exchanges are to operate as partnerships between the federal government and the states. The Jindal administration has made clear that it wants no part of the exchange that will operate in Louisiana. It first rejected the planning money in 2011. During the 2012 Regular Session, he and his allies made sure that a bill to have the state participate in the exchange was killed.

Ironically, the Governor will force an expansion of the federal government’s reach into Louisiana by his refusal to take part in the health insurance exchange. Jindal’s refusal to allow the state to participate in the creation of the health Insurance exchange also denies the state the state the ability to influence the kinds of health plans that are offered through the exchange.

So, the Governor’s refusal to participate in the exchange will exact a cost from Louisiana businesses and consumers who will use the exchange. But, in Jindal’s world, that is acceptable collateral damage for the higher goal of landing a seat on the Romney ticket.

Medicaid Obstructionism

The second way that the ACA addresses the state’s large percentage of uninsured working age adults is through an expansion of eligibility for the Medicaid program, starting in 2014. As anyone who has paid any attention to state budget issues in recent years knows, Medicaid is the largest single item in the Louisiana budget because we are a state with high levels of poverty. Medicaid is targeted primarily to assist the poor. Under the ACA, it is expanded to provide coverage to working age adults who cannot afford to participate in the private health insurance market.

But, instead of wrecking state budgets, the federal government will pay for 100% of the cost of the Medicaid expansion in the states.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the ACA will bring somewhere between 360,000 and 500,000 Louisiana citizens into Medicaid. The expense for this will be covered by the federal government for the first three years of the program, before falling to a 90/10 split in 2017. Louisiana currently has the most generous federal/state Medicaid split in the country at 70/30.

Jindal is quoted in the Times-Picayune as saying the state will not participate in the expansion of Medicaid even though the federal government is picking up all of the cost for that expansion. His opposition cannot be based on any fiscal reason, as the Governor has been particularly reckless with state finances during his tenure, giving away tax breaks and exemptions at a clip that has now almost eliminated corporate tax revenue from the state budget.

On the issue of the expansion of Medicaid — as with the matter of the health insurance exchange — the Governor has placed his national ambition above the wellbeing of the citizens of the state he was elected to govern. His opposition to the expansion of Medicaid has him putting the health of up to half-a-million Louisiana citizens somewhere below his top priority of getting a high profile job outside of Louisiana where he can continue his pursuit of his national ambition.

Those ambitions are all that stand in the way of Louisiana businesses and consumers being able to use a health insurance exchange where they can make informed decisions about the best health insurance values for themselves and their loved ones. Those ambitions are also going to prevent as many as 500,000 Louisiana residents from being able to have affordable access to health care through the expansion of the Medicaid program here.

Has Louisiana ever had a governor who displayed such contempt for the wellbeing of our state’s citizens? Has Louisiana ever had a governor who has shown so little regard for the business owners of this state as to be willing to sabotage a market reform that will help those businesses make better choices regarding a key business expense?

Call the Governor’s office and tell Bobby Jindal that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land now and that Louisiana businesses and consumers should be able to take full advantage of the benefits of that law as citizens of any other state. Here’s the number: 225-342-7015.

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Originally published: June 30, 2012

Huge Win for Louisiana Working Families, Small Businesses, Health Care Community! Supreme Court Upholds ACA!

The United States Supreme Court decision today to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a huge victory for Louisiana working families, small businesses and the health care provider community.

This law, which was passed by Democrats in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, addresses the national crisis of the collapse of the employment-based health insurance system in this country. Driven by growing numbers of companies and workers who could no longer afford the cost of health insurance coverage, health care in the United States was on the verge of becoming accessible only to the wealthiest people in this country.

Now, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land.

We call on Governor Bobby Jindal to put an end to his obstructionist grandstanding. We call on the Governor issue an immediate call for a Special Session of the Legislature to take the steps necessary to enable the state of Louisiana to participate in the formation of the Health Insurance Exchange that will bring transparency and clarity to the health insurance market, and enable them to lower their cost of coverage through pooling of resources and experience with other small businesses.

We also call on the Governor to commit Louisiana to participate in the expansion of Medicaid included in the Act which will bring coverage to more than 100,000 working Louisiana adults. Participation is a no brainer on this issue as the federal government will pay 100% of the cost of bringing new enrollees into the program.

In the 2008 election cycle, a national consensus emerged that market-based solutions were needed to preserve the American approach to accessing care. In the midst of a financial and economic crisis that threatened the country, President Obama and congressional Democrats fought fierce opposition to enact the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, with no help from Republicans. The extreme partisanship that drove Republicans to oppose these market-based reforms that they had once championed, provided a preview of the perverse politics of the past three years in which Republicans opposed any and every major initiative the President and Democrats supported.

The Supreme Court upheld all parts of the law against a broad set of legal challenges. The individual mandate has been upheld. The severability issue is moot because the mandate was upheld. The expansion of Medicaid was upheld, although states cannot be punished if they do not participate.

This is a tremendous victory for President Obama and congressional Democrats, but it is an even bigger for the people of Louisiana.

The Affordable Care Act was written for what ails Louisiana! We are a state with one of the highest percentages of working age adults without health insurance coverage. The law will enable more than half of the 700,000 or so Louisianans between the ages of 19 and 64 to obtain health coverage.

Louisiana residents endure high rates of chronic disease. The Affordable Care Act makes regular health screenings and preventative care part of every health insurance coverage package. Louisiana businesses will also benefit from the Act because work absences due to chronic disease rob workers and companies of productivity every year.

Louisiana residents with pre-existing conditions will now be able to get affordable coverage no matter where they work, or if they change jobs.

Louisiana seniors on Medicare will benefit from the closing of the prescription drug donut hole that has become a financial burden for tens of thousands of them.

Children of parents with health insurance coverage can remain on their parents’ policy until the age of 26.

Louisiana small businesses will continue to be eligible for expanded tax credits if they provide health insurance coverage to their employees. This is a huge issue in Louisiana where so many people work for companies that employ fewer than 25 people. Only about 30% of Louisiana small businesses currently offer health insurance coverage to the people who work for them.

Louisiana’s health care provider community, particularly community hospitals, are huge winners under this law as large numbers of patients who have no means to pay for the care they need will now have coverage. This will help bring financial stability to hospitals across the state.

This is a great day for Louisiana!

The Affordable Care Act proves once again that Democrats are more attuned to the interests of small businesses. We defer to St. Francisville business woman Susan Davis to make that case.

Louisiana Owner Says Democrats Are Helping Small Business with ACA
Louisiana Owner Says Democrats Are Helping Small Business with ACA
Susan Davis: Health Insurance Exchange Will Bring Transparency
Susan Davis: Health Insurance Exchange Will Bring Transparency

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Originally published: June 28, 2012