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Gov. Jindal asked to rethink Medicaid expansion

Associated Press Modified: November 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm •  Published: November 8, 2012

The governor described the program as too expensive, citing estimates the Medicaid expansion would cost Louisiana $3.7 billion over 10 years. He's also philosophically opposed to the growth of the federal government health care program, saying that insurance is better handled by private companies.

Considered a possible 2016 presidential contender, Jindal campaigned for Republican Mitt Romney's failed presidential bid and supported the repeal of the health care law. But with Obama's win and Democrats' retention of U.S. Senate control, repeal is considered a dead idea.

"Failing to expand Medicaid would leave 400,000 Louisianans out in the cold. And it would squander an opportunity to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into our state economy," Moller said.

Moller and Peterson both referred to cuts that Jindal has made to the university-run public hospital system that cares for the poor and uninsured, saying that the Medicaid expansion is even more necessary because Louisiana's safety net health care system is offering fewer services.

Jindal didn't respond to an interview request, and his office didn't answer questions about the Medicaid expansion. The governor's health secretary, Bruce Greenstein, also didn't respond to questions about the issue.

In a statement about Obama's victory, however, Jindal did suggest that the president's re-election wouldn't alter decisions for his home state.

"Here in Louisiana, we will continue to do what we have always done, and that means standing up for our people and doing what we think is right no matter who is president," Jindal said in the statement.