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On Meet the Press Sunday Morning, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal defended his decision not expand Medicaid in his state under the Affordable Care Act.
Jindal, who is seen as a possible 2016 republican presidential candidate, told NBC’s Chuck Todd, “Democrats and Republicans both want to help the vulnerable, want to help people get affordable, high quality health care. Medicaid is not right way to do it.”
The White House says Louisiana’s refusal to expand Medicaid leaves 265,000 people uninsured. Louisiana is one of 23 states that are not expanding Medicaid, an option provided by the Affordable Care Act.
3.8 million Americans in states not expanding Medicaid fall into a “coverage gap.” Most of them make too much money to qualify for the health care program, but not enough to receive the tax subsidies for plans on the insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.
“[Medicaid] was a program designed to take care of the disabled, of vulnerable children. It was never designed to be there for able-bodied adults,” Jindal explained
According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Louisiana ranks 48th in overall health and 42nd in children’s health quality. Arkansas, a state that expanded Medicaid had a 45.9% drop in their uninsured rate from 2013 to mid-2014, while Louisiana’s uninsured rate decreased 15.2 in the same period.
“By expanding and creating a new entitlement when we can’t afford the ones we’ve already got,” Jindal sad, “the Affordable Care Act, the president is basically doubling down on a failed approach to providing health care. There’s a better way to help the uninsured."
Jindal also criticized President Obama’s expected executive action on immigration, saying he agrees with using government funding to try and block the president.
“No we shouldn’t shut down the government, but absolutely Republicans should do everything we can to force the president to follow the law,” Jindal said. “Let’s secure the border. No the president shouldn’t shut down the government so that he can break the law.”
Jindal told moderator Chuck Todd that he will make a decision about a presidential run in the first half of 2015, saying “we are praying about this.”
“If I were to run for president, it’s because I believe in our country, the American dream is at jeopardy,” Jindal explained.