Jindal and MoveOn's billboard war

MoveOn and Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) are locked in a fight over ObamaCare, billboards and free speech.

Louisiana's lieutenant governor has issued a cease-and-desist order to MoveOn, arguing the liberal group is improperly using Louisiana's "Pick your passion" tourism slogan to slam Jindal's refusal to accept an expansion of Medicaid.

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The liberal group's billboard in Baton Rouge reads: “Louisiana! Pick your passion! But hope you don’t love your health. Gov. Jindal is denying Medicaid to 242,000 people.”

 

 

MoveOn has said the billboard is protected by the First Amendment’s free speech protections for parody and satire, and is refusing to take it down. The matter may have to be settled in court.

The liberal group said Monday it has purchased a five-figure ad buy in the state to run television ads that focus on the cease-and-desist letter.

“Why are Louisiana Republicans trying to take down this billboard?,” the narrator asks. “Maybe they don’t want you to know that when Gov. Jindal refused to expand Medicaid, he said no to more than $1.65 billion in federal funds and denied healthcare to 242,000 people.”

The clash comes as Medicaid expansion figures to play a prominent role in vulnerable Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) reelection bid.

The issue is giving Landrieu a chance to run not only against her GOP opponent Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who opposes the extension, but against Jindall as well. She argues the expansion would close “the Jindal Gap.”

Jindal has said he is against expanding Medicaid because the federal subsidies are front-loaded and would end up costing Louisiana $1.7 billion over the next 10 years.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government pays 100 percent of the costs of the state’s expansion for the first year, and most states wouldn’t pay more than 10 percent in future years.

Jindal also argues that the expansion would move people from private insurance into a government-run program, which he says discourages self-sufficiency.

“We should design our policies so that more people are pulling the cart than riding in the cart,” Jindal wrote last year in the Times-Picayune. “Expansion would result in 41 percent of Louisiana's population being enrolled in Medicaid. We should measure success by reducing the number of people on public assistance.”