The bitter war between Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and the liberal group MoveOn.org continued Thursday when the governor authored an op-ed accusing the organization — and liberals in general — of discriminating against disabled people through their support of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
“What does MoveOn.org have against individuals with disabilities?” Jindal wrote in the column that appeared in the Shreveport Times. The argument is one that Jindal has advanced elsewhere: Because the law expands Medicaid coverage to a new population — childless adults — it prioritizes them over people who already receive Medicaid benefits, like the disabled.
To be clear about Jindal’s argument about Medicaid expansion and its effect on the disabled: Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is funded completely separately from the traditional program and the law does not affect funding for the latter.
“I won’t accept lectures in compassion from those who would expand our safety net beyond comprehension, and jeopardize the care of our most vulnerable citizens in the process,” Jindal said. “We’ve come too far to become distracted by outside liberal groups with their own agendas, who would leave care for those with disabilities behind just to make a political point.”
It was the latest blow in an increasingly high-profile controversy. It started when Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R) sent a cease-and-desist letter last week to MoveOn, demanding that the group remove a billboard criticizing Jindal for refusing to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. He alleged that it was confusing and maybe illegal because it parodied one of the state’s official tourism slogans.
MoveOn rebuked the request and then purchased TV advertising space to call attention to the government’s demands. Jindal’s op-ed was another volley in the fight.
UPDATE, 2:40 p.m. ET:
Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn’s Civic Action group, issued the following statement to TPM regarding Jindal’s op-ed:
“Governor Jindal is clearly feeling the heat, and doesn’t want to be held accountable for preventing 242,000 Louisianans from accessing Medicaid. So now he’s making a desperate and dishonest argument that tries to turn Louisianans with disabilities into political weapons. Let’s be clear: Disability rights organizations fervently supported the Affordable Care Act — including Medicaid expansion. Accepting federal Medicaid money in no way takes money away from people with disabilities.