A top Republican is suggesting that President Obama delay health care services to millions of middle and lower-income Americans to offset the automatic across-the-board budget cuts that will go into effect on March 1 if Congress does not reach a spending deal.
Appearing on Meet The Press on Sunday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) advised Obama to put off implementing the Affordable Care Act’s health care exchanges that are due to go online in 2014 and the expansion of the Medicaid program to offset the looming sequester cuts:
JINDAL: Just delay the Medicaid expansion, delay the health care exchanges so they can work with states on waivers, on flexibility. You can save tens of thousands of dollars there and you’re not even cutting a program that’s started yet — just delaying.
Delaying implementation of these key coverage expansion provisions would throw the law into chaos and deny health services to millions of Americans, many of whom are at or just above the federal poverty line and are struggling with medical bills. 771,600 adults and 124,200 children currently go without health care coverage in Jindal’s home state of Louisiana, for instance. The governor has declined to move forward with a state-run exchange for consumers to buy insurance, leaving its operation to the Department of Health and Human Services, and opted out of the Medicaid expansion under the law.
Defunding the Affordable Care Act has become a popular sequester offset on the right. Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the government should protect the Defense Department from automatic spending cuts by slashing $1.2 trillion from the law. “Well, all I can say is the Commander-in-Chief thought — came up with the idea of sequestration, destroying the military and putting a lot of good programs at risk. It is my belief — take Obamacare and put it on the table,” Graham said.