Landrieu Running On the “Jindal Gap”

Going into this election cycle, it was generally assumed that state-level Democrats in states that had rejected the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion might well run on the stupidly obstinate ideological refusal to let the federal government pay for covering uninsured people. But in Louisiana, Sen. Mary Landrieu is making a federal case out of it, and could even benefit from a ballot initiative on the subject, per this report from Greg Sargent:

[I]n an interview today, Landrieu vowed to campaign aggressively against GOP foe Bill Cassidy’s opposition to the Medicaid expansion in the state, offered a spirited defense of the law — while acknowledging it has some problems — and even insisted he’d be at a “disadvantage” over the issue.

This week a state legislative committee in Louisiana is expected to consider a measure that would put a constitutional amendment before the voters this fall that, if approved, would direct the state to accept $16 billion in Medicaid money to cover 242,000 people. Even if the ballot measure is not green-lighted by the legislature, Landrieu said she will continue to press the issue — and hit Rep. Cassidy over it.

“That would be a real setback for the people of Louisiana, many of whom are working 30, 40, 50 hours a week but find themselves caught in the Jindal gap because the state refuses to expand health care options to the working poor at little to no expense,” Landrieu told me, referring to Governor Bobby Jindal’s opposition to the expansion.

As the person who labeled those left uncovered by the states rejecting the Medicaid expansion as those in the “Wingnut Gap,” I’m very pleased to see Landrieu get personal about it. It probably doesn’t hurt that Bobby isn’t real popular in Louisiana–even among fellow Republicans–at the moment.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.