What does MoveOn.org have against individuals with disabilities?
On first glance, it may appear an odd question to ask. But when it comes to the liberal organization’s new ad campaign attempting to persuade states to expand their Medicaid programs, it’s a sad but true statement.
Here are the facts. Obamacare contains a massive expansion of Medicaid. Until recently, the program had provided health coverage targeted towards low-income parents, children, and individuals with disabilities. But President Obama expanded Medicaid to include millions more Americans—the vast majority of whom are childless adults of working age.
The federal government provides funds to states matching their Medicaid contributions. But Obamacare includes a twist: The law provides a richer federal match for states’ coverage of childless adults than Medicaid programs receive for covering individuals with disabilities. I’ll say that again: Obamacare prioritizes Medicaid coverage of childless adults over care for persons with disabilities. That’s a case of skewed priorities if I ever heard of one.
I truly believe in a government safety net. But a vast expansion of government-run health care will jeopardize the care of the most vulnerable in our society. With more than half a million individuals with disabilities already on waiting lists for Medicaid services nationwide, we need to protect access for people with disabilities, not engage in a massive new wave of government-run health coverage.
That’s why my proposed budget for this year directs $26 million in new funding to home and community-based services for elderly individuals and persons with disabilities. We’re focused on improving the quality of care, and giving individuals with disabilities more choices. We’ve already increased the number of individuals receiving home and community-based care by 5,000, and this year’s funding increase will ultimately reduce our waiting list for services by over 4,000.
But while we’re focused on improving the quality of care provided and reducing waiting lists for persons with disabilities, Liberals would rather our state use those resources to participate in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Liberal groups like MoveOn.org won’t say one word about caring for individuals with disabilities, or how Obamacare prioritizes coverage of childless adults ahead of the most vulnerable—they just want to intimidate states into accepting Obamacare’s massive new spending programs.
Likewise, one of my state’s senators, Mary Landrieu, has decried my decision to focus on targeting resources toward individuals with disabilities rather than participating in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. But why did she support—and provide the critical 60th vote to enact—legislation that discriminates against individuals with disabilities, by prioritizing coverage for childless adults over the needs of the most vulnerable? And what would she say if our state devoted resources to covering thousands of childless adults through Medicaid, while leaving individuals with disabilities out in the cold? How would she fill that “Landrieu Gap?”
In the past six years, we’ve accomplished quite a lot to reform our health care system in Louisiana. We’ve privatized our antiquated charity hospital system, creating new private-public partnerships that have reinvigorated community health, and provided new services to low-income individuals across the state. We’ve revamped our Medicaid program, now called Bayou Health, to lead to better integrated and more coordinated care. And we’ve focused on covering the persons Medicaid was originally designed to serve—we’ve achieved a coverage rate for children of 95.6%, and we’re working to increase access for persons with disabilities.
We still have more work to do to improve health care in Louisiana. But I won’t accept lectures in compassion from those who would expand our safety net beyond comprehension, and jeopardize the care of our most vulnerable citizens in the process. We’ve come too far to become distracted by outside liberal groups with their own agendas, who would leave care for those with disabilities behind just to make a political point.
Editor’s Note: Gov. Bobby Jindal is the governor of Louisiana. This piece originally appeared at the Ouachita Citizen.