Governor Bobby Jindal held a media availability at the Governor's Mansion today where he underscored the harmful effects of the health care mandate passed by the U.S. House of Representatives late yesterday evening. The Governor also announced that he has asked the Attorney General of Louisiana to join with other states in asserting Louisianians' Constitutional 10th amendment rights to not be forced to buy a product by the federal government. Additionally, the Governor also announced that he will pursue legislation in the upcoming session to opt the state out of funding elected abortions, which is permissible under the new federal health care bill.
Governor Jindal said, "This is a bad bill for Louisiana and a bad bill for our country. Unfortunately, Washington ignored a real opportunity to lower health care costs for our citizens and instead passed a $1.2 trillion spending bill at a time of record deficits. Only in Washington is a new trillion-dollar spending bill a way to save money. In times of economic challenges and record deficits, government needs to cut spending and taxes not dramatically increase them. Indeed, the actual costs of the bill will be around $2.4 trillion because much of the spending in the bill kicks in after years of higher taxes.
"This bill also imposes new taxes totaling $569.2 billion on Americans, and even raises taxes on medical products, which will only further drive up costs for patients. Directly hurting our seniors, the bill also cuts more than half a trillion dollars from the Medicare program. Moreover, this legislation cuts our state's DSH funding cap; these dollars are used to fund public hospitals.
"Estimates show that the bill will cost our state around $345 million per year, starting the first year of the full 10 percent state match. This added cost has to be absorbed by the state, while also adding 360,000 new Medicaid enrollees to the Medicaid program, as the new federal mandate requires. These additional enrollees do not include the unknown number of people that are eligible today for Medicaid but not enrolled in the program. Under this new mandate, all of those individuals would now also be required to enroll.
"As we continue to comb through the bill, we will get a better idea of the costs of fully expanding our Medicaid program in compliance with the new mandate, as well as the costs of the lost DSH funding and the costs of the physician reimbursement rate, which are also included in the bill."
Health Care Bill Unconstitutional
Governor Jindal continued, "We have reached out to the Attorney General and asked him to join with other states to assert the rights afforded to us by the U.S. Constitution that protect citizens against a federal requirement to purchase a product -- like insurance.
"I encourage those in Washington, D.C. to pick up a U.S. Constitution and read it. The legislation's requirement on all citizens to purchase insurance is fundamentally an unconstitutional expansion of federal power. If the 10th Amendment of the Constitution means anything, we need to stand up for the fact that the federal government can't force Americans to buy a certain product as a requirement to be an American. If the federal government can do this, what can't they do? Where does it stop?"
State Opting Out of Funding Abortions
The Governor also announced today that he will work with the Legislature to pass a law in the upcoming legislative session to opt the state out of using taxpayer money to fund elected abortions in the state's purchasing exchange.
Governor Jindal said, "This health care bill paves the way to allow taxpayer funding of elected abortions and we will do everything we can to ensure that no Louisiana tax dollars pay for these abortions."