Even though she’s busy running her own race, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is lending a hand to the policy campaign being undertaken by state Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa.
Nevers has filed SB 96 to force the state to accept $16 billion in federal Medicaid money to expand access to basic health care for 240,000 citizens — the same Medicaid expansion opposed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Of those who would benefit, Landrieu stated in a press release, “Many of them earn too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid, but not enough to afford coverage in the new marketplaces. They have fallen into the ‘Jindal Gap’ because Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal continues to say no.”
The move pits Landrieu more firmly against Jindal this session. It’s unknown, however, how far Landrieu’s support will extend.
The bill is now pending action before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.
While many political observers were expecting to hear first from U.S. Sen. David Vitter, who’s running for governor, this session, it was Landrieu who broke the federal-state lawmaker seal.
Vitter has long had an interest in state politics, from helping elect conservative members to the Legislature to offering comments on the Jindal administration’s policies.
Litigation reform for the oil and gas industry, in particular, was thought to be an issue of interest for Vitter this session, but Jindal may have beat him to the punch last week by announcing a compromise on so-called legacy lawsuits.
Of course, the session isn’t over yet. Adjournment is scheduled for June 2.