By Jonathan Easley - 03/19/14 01:53 PM EDT
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will highlight on Thursday local ObamaCare enrollment efforts in Louisiana, a deep red state with major 2014 midterm implications.
But Louisiana figures to be a battleground state in 2014, as Democrats seek to protect their Senate majority, and ObamaCare could play a big role in that.
Many states run by Republican governors and legislatures are slowly adopting the Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare, but Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who might harbor presidential aspirations, has been one of the most vocal opponents of the expansion.
Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is up for reelection in 2014 and is widely viewed as one of the most vulnerable Democrats. Jindal’s opposition to the Medicaid expansion has boosted Democratic hopes that they can run on the issue in the midterms.
Landrieu, sister of New Orleans's mayor, has launched a petition on her website urging the governor to “close the Jindal gap,” which she argues would bring health insurance to more people who cannot afford it.
But that’s not the only ObamaCare battle Jindal is fighting.
Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne has issued a cease-and-desist order to MoveOn, arguing the liberal group is improperly using the Pelican State's "Pick your passion" tourism slogan to slam Jindal.
MoveOn’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 will likely have to be settled in court.
The advocacy group has purchased a five-figure buy in Louisiana 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.”