Cajun Care: Medicaid Reform in Louisiana
The election of Barack Obama and forthcoming nomination of Tom Daschle as secretary of Health and Human Services has given hope to advocates of government monopoly health care. As the Wall Street Journal noted on November 20, the appointment of Daschle, “puts a skilled navigator of Capitol Hill in charge of the president- elect’s bid to establish universal health care, which he has made a top priority.” However, current fiscal constraints may form a major barrier for any sort of universal plan. For the time being, the nation’s $10-trillion deficit will likely force the health care reform debate to be fought at the state level, where policy entrepreneurs will be operating with limited resources.
One of these policy entrepreneurs is Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who began his political career as secretary of the Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals when he was only 24 years old. Jindal later gained experience at the federal level as the assistant secretary for Planning and Evaluation for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where he served as a principal policy advisor to the secretary of Health and Human Services during the George W. Bush administration.