In a press conference last week, Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham vowed he would not “roll back” Medicaid expansion in Louisiana, despite his sordid history of targeting Medicaid recipients, including showering former Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal with praise as he slashed the program during his tenure as head of Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals in the late 90s.
During the same freewheeling press conference, Abraham callously called Gov. John Bel Edwards move to expand Medicaid in Louisiana — which provided health coverage for more than 400,000 Louisianans — a “debacle.”
From 1996-1997, under Jindal’s tenure in the Department of Health and Hospitals in Louisiana, 65,000 Louisianans lost their Medicaid coverage. Jindal slashed the program at the time, claiming the “economy got better,” implying that low income Louisianans no longer needed health coverage. While head of the DHH, Jindal also heavily proposed limiting Medicaid patients to five prescriptions a month, and also proposed cutting Medicaid funding that was allocated specifically to help aide those we were critically ill.
A decade later, Abraham appeared in an ad on behalf of Jindal’s gubernatorial campaign, entitled “Dr. Ralph,” and touted Jindal’s health care record as the former secretary of the state Department of Health and Hospitals in Louisiana. “I see so many people who depend on Medicaid. I remember back when the whole system was about to collapse from corruption,” Abraham said. “But then, Bobby Jindal went to work, Bobby cleaned up the corruption and stopped the insider deals.”
Between 2007 and 2009, Abraham also donated $10,000 to Jindal’s various campaigns for public office, including a $5,000 donation in 2009 to Jindal’s reelection efforts.
In March 2019, Abraham also lambasted Medicaid recipients as lazy at a closed-door fundraiser, stating he believed they “voted for a living” instead of working.
Abraham is currently vying to challenge incumbent Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.