Target: Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana
Goal: Reprimand Louisiana governor for terminating Medicaid for disabled residents
Applying for federal disability benefits can sometimes take years. People who qualify for these benefits often require more immediate assistance than the federal government can provide. To close the gap and care for their people, many states have so-called, “disability Medicaid” programs, which cover health care costs for people who qualify for federal programs but are not yet enrolled in them. Louisiana was among the states offering such benefits until January 1st of 2014. At the start of the year, Governor Bobby Jindal (R) terminated the program, which resulted in over 9,000 people losing their healthcare coverage. Disabled Americans deserve respect and care, not to be abandoned by their state governments in their hour of need. This deplorable action by Governor Jindal deserves criticism. Let him know that his refusal to take care of Louisiana’s most vulnerable is unacceptable.
Governor Jindal steadfastly has opposed expanding Medicaid in any form for the duration of his governorship. Although the Affordable Care Act would allow Louisiana to expand their Medicaid coverage to an additional 300,000 uninsured citizens, solely at the expense of the federal government, Jindal has refused the offer. The state legislature has also voted against Medicaid expansion. Medicaid is actually shrinking rapidly in Louisiana, due to the removal of programs and stricter eligibility requirements. Many, who no longer qualify for Medicaid, due to the state’s actions, can also not afford to buy health insurance in the federal marketplace. This most recent seizing of a public health program is just one more step down a road of poorer healthcare for the people of Louisiana.
According to Megan McLemore, writing for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “the failure to expand Medicaid has left a dangerous gap between a shrinking Medicaid program and the coverage provided by private insurance exchanges. Living in this gap is not a policy abstraction.” The federal health insurance marketplace was not designed for the extremely poor, the ill, or the disabled to rely upon. In its design, it was assumed that states would continue to uphold their responsibility to their most vulnerable people. Instead, as Louisiana’s state government and Governor have shown, some politicians just don’t care. Tell Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, to change his actions and take care of his population.
Dear Governor Bobby Jindal,
A Louisianan with disabilities, a Louisianan who is poor, or a Louisianan who is desperately ill is still a Louisianan. As such, it is your responsibility to see to it that they are extended the human right of healthcare, in a timely manner. Why have you failed them?
I am writing today to criticize your termination of the “disability Medicaid” program in your state, and to urge you to reinstate it. The health of some of Louisiana’s most vulnerable depends on it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via wikimedia commons