As a graduating senior at LSU, my final year as a Child and Family Studies major is not without its thought-provoking subject matter, yet I find the most enlightening lessons are taking place outside the classroom in present-day Louisiana politics.
Our state’s political history has always been an interesting one and we’ve come a long way from glorifying corruption and praising partisan politics. Unfortunately, in light of current events such as the budget crisis, there seems to be a resurgence of the latter. A specific example is the relatively simple decision to use primarily federal dollars to improve health care options for thousands of our citizens through Medicaid expansion. Last year’s Legislature voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution allowing the new governor, whomever that would be, to administratively offer these valuable options to those who don’t qualify directly for Medicaid. With election season in full swing, all gubnatorial-hopefuls showed their support of this, some admittedly more so than others. Upon getting elected, Gov. Edwards made this his first priority and suddenly some in the Legislature have made it their goal to undermine that decision.
Did these legislators come across new information that changed their mind? Would they feel differently had another candidate been elected? Only they can answer these questions. The health of 300,000 Louisiana citizens is truly in question and as someone dedicating my education and future career to the wellness of people, I don’t appreciate health care becoming a political bargaining chip. If this unfortunate trend of party politics taking precedence continues, all in Louisiana – not just those in need of Medicaid expansion – will be losers.
Baton Rouge, La.