Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Mardi Gras celebration has ended and a war with the progressive political group MoveOn.org has begun.
MoveOn.org’s lawyers received a cease-and-desist letter from state of Louisiana officials Thursday, one day after the state’s Republican lieutenant governor told the Baton Rouge Advocate that the state would pursue legal action to try to take down a billboard criticizing Jindal.
MoveOn says Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne has demanded that MoveOn.org Civic Action take down the billboard that criticizes Jindal for preventing 242,000 of the state’s residents from accessing Medicaid. The billboard plays off of Louisiana’s tourism marketing campaign to make its point.
MoveOn spokesman Nick Bernin said MoveOn will “not back down in the face of baseless legal threats. If Republican officials don’t want to be criticized for keeping hundreds of thousands of Louisianans from accessing Medicaid, there’s a simple solution — they should stop preventing Louisianans from accessing Medicaid.”
Bernin called Jindal’s action a “pathetic” waste of time.
“ If he is truly concerned about Louisiana’s image, Lt. Gov Dardenne’s time should be spent getting people health care, not trying to take down a billboard.”
MoveOn in its press statement cited a poll by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies that found that 62.6 percent of Louisianans support Medicaid expansion, while only 30.8 percent oppose it.
Mississippi, Louisiana and other Southern states – with the exception of Arkansas – have rejected an offer from the federal government to fully find an expansion of Medicaid that would take in people who make slightly too much money for current Medicaid eligibility and not enough money to qualify for the Affordable Care Act health care exchanges. Mississippi‘s Republican legislators and their Southern counterparts cite the 10 portion of the expansion costs they would eventually pick up, starting with a gradual expense after three years. Supporters cite the significant health benefits expansion would bring to the working poor and the hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact he expansions would generate.