Jordan Blum’s column of Sept. 8 is a good example of media “framing” of a political issue to benefit a particular candidate. How exactly is scrutiny of Rep. Bill Cassidy’s past record an “attack”? Cassidy’s statements and meager legislative record in Louisiana and on Capitol Hill are all relevant information for voters. The bill in question (SB307), filed in the Legislature in 2007, would have established a Louisiana Health Insurance Exchange, with authority to promulgate rules and regulations, to assist individuals, businesses, and other entities in negotiating with insurers to obtain affordable health coverage.
That is a central component of “Obamacare,” and the Massachusetts Health Law it’s patterned after. The Affordable Care Act operates at a national level, so it is of necessity much larger and more complex. But the ACA offered states the option of running their own exchanges. Gov. Jindal rejected this, both to show opposition to the president and to help make implementation of the ACA more difficult in hopes it would fail. If Rep. Cassidy prefers state-level exchanges, he should have intervened with Gov. Jindal. But Cassidy didn’t do so, just as he didn’t intervene to save Earl K. Long Hospital or to stop the GOP’s massive Medicaid cut that Jindal used to shut that facility and other Louisiana public hospitals down.
Since reaching Congress, Cassidy has done little but toe the party line, which now includes pandering to the tea party wing of the GOP. The GOP has inflamed its base with a fictional picture of “Obamacare,” despite the fact that it supported the law’s main provisions before the president’s name was on the law. Cassidy’s allegiance to this strategy is hardly a mark of leadership.
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