Gov. Jindal's refusal to accept almost $16 billion in extraMedicaid money was destined to hurt thousands of low-income Louisiana residentswho lack health insurance. That has been clear for months, as study after study -including the state's own -- showed that tens of thousands of people wouldbenefit if Louisiana accepted the Medicaid expansion that is part of PresidentObama's health care act.
But a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation puts thesituation in stark terms: Without the expansion, 242,150 poor Louisianaresidents won't have access to the insurance offerings the Affordable Care Actwas designed to provide.
That includes 87 percent of the adults in Louisiana-- excluding the elderly -- who live in poverty. They don't qualify forMedicaid now because of the way the program was designed and funded. They earntoo little to be able to afford to buy insurance on the new health careexchanges and aren't eligible for the Affordable Care Act's insurance taxcredits.
And yet Gov. Jindal continues to reject the federal moneythat could help make them healthier and ease their financial burdens. He hasprovided various excuses, but it's hard to believe the rejection is anythingbut a political calculation.
The governor has long had aspirations to the White House.And although he told reporters Thursday that he hadn't made a decision aboutrunning in 2016, the launch of his new nonprofit -- America Next -- is fuelingspeculation that he might. If so, accepting $15.8 billion from President Obama'shealth care act probably wouldn't play well with some of his likely supporters.
What a shame if the governor's ambitions were to trump hisown people's needs.