Gov. Jindal Cites Flawed Oregon Study To Defend Turning Down Medicaid Expansion

Gov. Bobby Jindal must have gotten the Frank Luntz approved memo with their talking points on turning down the Medicaid expansion, since he was caught repeating some of them here.
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This must be one of those Frank Luntz approved talking points, because we're seeing more and more right-wingers use it every time you turn around. As Karoli already pointed out in her post on Reason's Nick Gillespie, the Oregon study that was cited by Gillespie, and by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in the clip above, has "been debunked six ways from Friday" but that apparently is not going to keep these guys from using it as an excuse to deny poor people access to affordable health care any time soon.

Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace actually hit Jindal pretty hard for the harm to those who can't afford health insurance his decision is going to cause for the residents of his state when he first started questioning him on the topic and cited some of an editorial blasting Jindal for turning down the "almost $16 billion in extra Medicaid money" for his state.

What he did not do is push back at Jindal when he cited that same flawed study as Gillespie on Medicaid. He also let him brag about his plan to privatize his state's public hospitals, without asking him how improved access to services is supposed to help someone who can't afford the services in the first place.

Transcript via Fox below the fold.

WALLACE: Well, Governor, let's take a look at health care in your state. Twenty percent of the people in Louisiana are now uninsured. That's tied for fourth among states with the highest percentage of uninsured.

You decided not to run your own exchange, leaving it to the feds. You turned down the Medicaid expansion. Question: aren't you leaving a lot of folks in your state of Louisiana out in the cold?

JINDAL: Chris, I think we need to do health care reform from the bottom up. This is what we do in Louisiana. We're the only state that has a state operated network of charity hospitals. We transformed those. We had 10 state operated hospitals when I became governor.

Now, nine of those are public/private partnerships, saving taxpayers over $100 million, improving the quality of care for example in Baton Rouge, going from a 10-day wait to a 10-minute wait to get prescriptions. Six-month wait for cancer services in another city where they're seeing specialists now right now, to another city like Charleston where if you had a broken bone or if you need special service that a lot of times, you had to travel many miles, and now you can get that care locally partnering with the private sector. In our managed care and our Medicaid program, we took 900,000 individuals got them into private insurance plans where they're getting preventative care and primary care, again, saving taxpayers another $100 million improving health care outcomes.

If you believe the federal government, if you believe the Obama administration and all the numbers they put out, our uninsured rate with the exchanges and everything else, should be 6 percent or less. To us, it made no sense to expand Medicaid, where over for every uninsured person you're covering, you take more than one person out of private insurance. So I think if you let the states approach health care reform, we can do it better in a D.C.-based approach.

In Louisiana, we're not only putting more people on private plans. Not only are we reforming the charity hospital system, we're also going to have more people working in the private sector more than any time in our state's history. And you see average incomes going up. And that's really the best solution, is to give people good paying jobs and the ability to afford their own health care.

WALLACE: But, Governor, an editorial in your local newspaper, "The Times-Picayune", criticized you this week for refusing to take $16 billion in aid, in funding, for Medicaid from Washington. I want to put up some of what the paper had to say. The wrote, "Without the expansion, 242,150 poor Louisiana residents won't have access to the insurance offering the Affordable Care Act was designed to provide".

And they note that other Republican governors who opposed ObamaCare like you do, like Kasich of Ohio and Snyder of Michigan, are taking the Medicaid money to help the folks in their state.

JINDAL: Well, again, if we did Medicaid expansion in Louisiana for every uninsured person, covered more than one person would be taking out of private insurance.

Secondly, you would need 41 percent of our population, Chris, would be in Medicaid, I think you need more people pulling the carton in the cart. Third, it would cost my taxpayers up to $1.7 billion over 10 years.

This isn't free money. The Oregon study also shown that just expanding Medicaid doesn't necessarily improve health care outcomes. After two years -- this is a credible story, nonpartisan study -- showed no improvement in physical health care outcomes after two years of Medicaid expansion, just giving somebody a Medicaid card, not giving them health care access.

What we're doing instead, there was a "Lake Charles American Press" editorial also saying, praising our public/private partnerships, saying people are getting better access to special health care for the first time. We're going to have a level one trauma center here in Baton Rouge, first time, a level two trauma center in Lafayette, in New Orleans. We've got the V.A., LSU Children's Hospital, Tulane, working together on ultimately a $2 billion modern health care complex.

We believe we've got a better approach. Helping people buy better insurance, 900,000 out of an outdated paying for services, now paying for outcomes approach. We've got a better approach to provide services to those people. And, again, if you believe the exchange claims and I'm not sure they're going to hit these targets, but the uninsured rate in Louisiana will be below 6 percent. We think a better way to provide for that 6 percent is through the public/private partnerships, through value health (ph), not in a one-size-fits-all Medicaid program. And this money is not free.

WALLACE: All right.

JINDAL: Let's remind ourselves. I know people like to think it's free.

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