Republican Sen. David Vitter took some time away from making sure his staff has to pay for Obamacare to support accepting the law's Medicaid expansion in Louisiana. Apparently opposing all parts of Obamacare doesn't work when you're running for governor.
According to The Times-Picayune, Vitter, who is running against incumbent Governor Bobby Jindal, said during an appearance at a Baton Rouge Press Club luncheon that he'd want to revamp the Medicaid program, but would be open to accepting government funds to enroll low income people in insurance. It's not clear whether he means he'd want to enroll people in state-funded private insurance plans (like Arkansas), but he said he was open as long as it didn't "draw state resources away from other spending priorities like higher education," according to the Associated Press.
(Update 5:27 pm: In an email to The Wire a Vitter spokesperson wrote that any support of the expansion would depend on fixing the program: "The only way Senator Vitter would ever consider any expansion is if it fundamentally reformed the program, did not continue to drain state dollars way from higher ed, and did not provide additional disincentives for able-bodied folks to work, all factors he laid out clearly.")
Gov. Jindal has refused to expand Medicaid in the state, and drafted his own conservative health care reform alternative. But Vitter has also been a vocal opponent of Obamacare. The Vitter amendment would cut the funds that subsidize health insurance for lawmakers and, more importantly, their aides. Vitter has pushed for a vote on the amendment for months now — most recently, he helped kill a vote on a popular bipartisan energy efficiency bill. But now he's at least open to Medicaid, meaning he's joining a growing list of governors (in this case, possible governors) who've realized that people like Medicaid.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.