U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who is running to replace Bobby Jindal as Louisiana’s governor in 2015, said Monday he would consider adopting Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion if elected.
The Associated Press reported that Vitter said he would not be opposed to expanding Medicaid under the health care reform law, on the condition that the state improved the performance of its Medicaid system and as long as it would not negatively affect other state programs.
States pay 0 percent of expansion costs through 2016 and never more than 10 percent after that. About 242,000 low-income Louisianans have been left without health coverage because the state hasn’t expanded the program. Vitter made the remarks during an interview with the Press Club of Baton Rouge.
Jindal has been one of the most vocal opponents of Medicaid expansion, even engaging in a high-profile fight with MoveOn.org over a billboard that criticized the governor for rejecting the expansion.
UPDATE, 5:40 p.m. ET:
The Associated Press included direct quotes from Vitter in an updated version of its story.
“We need to improve and reform Medicaid, and I want to look at everything that could be brought to bear to do that,” Vitter said. “Now, could more federal resources help to do that? They could, if it’s done right and if it’s done in a constructive way.”
Vitter also worried that Medicaid expansion could result in “disincentives for able-bodied folks to work,” according to the AP.