WH calls on Florida and Louisiana governors to expand Medicaid

Posted by Lesley Clark on November 7, 2013 

The White House lambasted governors in Louisiana and Florida for not expanding Medicaid -- as President Barack Obama plans to visit both states on Friday -- though he won't be addressing his rocky health care law rollout.

White House Deputy Senior Advisor David Simas said 848,000 people without insurance in Florida could get coverage immediately if Gov. Rick Scott agreed to expand the federal-state health care program for the poor. Another 265,000 uninsured could gain access to coverage in Louisiana if Gov. Bobby Jindal went along, Simas said.

"We believe that it is reckless that some governors are so determined to see that the health care law not succeed that they have even refused to expand Medicaid coverage for millions and millions of working people," Simas said.

Obama traveled to Dallas on Wednesday, pushing Texas Gov. Rick Perry to expand Medicaid. Nine Republican governors have agreed to expansions and Simas said the administration plans to keep pressing governors to do so.

Jindal -- who held a press conference Thursday to blast Obama's visit -- defended his decision not to accept the Medicaid expansion option under the Affordable Care Act.

"The reality is here in Louisiana we've cut taxes," Jindal said, according to the Times Picayune. "We've done things like invest in workforce training. We've cut people's regulations. We've made this a business-friendly state. I think there's a lesson there for the president."

The call included New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu -- whom Republicans noted is the brother of Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat who has introduced legislation that would allow anyone with cancelled plans to keep their coverage -- as Obama had promised.

The mayor said he supported expanding Medicaid coverage --- and his sister's legislation, referring reporters to the senator for more information.

Obama will travel to the Port of New Orleans on Friday where the White House says he'll "discuss the importance of taking measures to grow the economy and create jobs by increasing our exports." 

He'll later fly to Miami for fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

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