House Minority Whip Steve Scalise took a fellow Republican to task last week for saying his constituents sat idly waiting for the government’s help after Hurricane Katrina, but he’s been mum on a fellow Louisianan’s characterization of Medicaid recipients as lazy people who vote in order to stay on the dole.
Rep. Ralph Abraham, a third-term Republican now running for governor, was recorded last week telling donors at a fundraiser that Medicaid recipients were “voting for a living instead of working.”
“I’m just tired of people voting for a living instead of working for a living because if they’re on that hook of the government — and that could be a federal or state program — what are they going to do? They’re going to vote to keep that program going instead of a job, whether they want it or not,” said Abraham, a medical doctor who has touted his work for the poor on the campaign trail.
Scalise’s spokeswoman did not respond to an email seeking comment and he has not commented publicly about Abraham’s remarks, which were first reported by the Bayou Brief, a progressive blog covering Louisiana politics.
Abraham, who represents one of the poorest congressional districts in the country, was responding to a question about Medicaid spending in Louisiana at a $250-a-plate lunch in Natchitoches, the Brief reported.
Louisiana expanded Medicaid in 2016 under Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, extending eligibility to those whose incomes are at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level.
After Rep. Steve King said people in New Orleans were “looking around saying, ‘Who’s gonna help me, who’s gonna help me?’” Edwards and members of the state’s congressional delegation, including Scalise and Abraham, condemned King’s latest outrageous statement.
“We experience hardship together, and we rebuild together because there are no more resilient people in this country than Louisianians,” Abraham said.