Jindal: ‘We’re not going to start implementing Obamacare now’

La. Gov. waiting until presidential election to make Obamacare-mandated exchanges

June 29, 2012

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal remains defiant in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare.

Jindal, who is being touted as a potential running mate to GOP nominee Mitt Romney, told reporters on a conference call Friday that he will not implement any part of the controversial healthcare law, including state insurance pools and Medicaid expansion.

"We’ve refused to set up the insurance exchanges, and we’re not going to start implementing Obamacare [now]," he said. "The president is proposing to put an additional 16 to 17 million people on Medicaid without any reforms [on the system itself]."

The law originally threatened to withdraw all Medicaid reimbursements to states that refused to expand Medicaid eligibility to childless adults. The court ruled 7-2 that the federal government could withhold the initial 100 percent reimbursement for the expansion to such states, but could not punitively take away the 50 percent reimbursement in place now.

The ruling did not affect the administration’s prescription on state insurance exchanges. Many Republican governors have delayed setting up exchanges until after the Supreme Court ruling; Jindal is the first to say that he will maintain his opposition.

The administration has shelled out $1.2 billion to states as an incentive to create the insurance exchanges, which would allow low-income residents and those without health insurance to choose from plans offered by the state. The law also pressures states to quickly adopt the measure by forcing states without exchanges in place by 2014 to accept a federally designed plan.

Jindal said his continued opposition is linked to his belief that Romney will beat Obama in November.

"If Romney is elected he will have a great mandate [to repeal]," he said. "This [ruling] just goes to show how important elections are."

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, another man on Romney’s short list, joined Jindal on the Republican Party conference call. McDonnell, who approved an exchange with a sunset clause that would have invalidated it upon a negative Supreme Court ruling, said he did not know if he would join Jindal in opposition to Medicaid expansion.

"We are evaluating our options on it," he said. "Obviously our hope is that in 125 days or so, we will elect a new president and new Senate."