Reuters news agency reported Wednesday that Gov. Bobby Jindal accepted $60 million in federal funds provided under Obamacare while working to scrap the law.
But the Jindal administration said the dollars coming to the state had nothing to do with the health insurance exchanges or expansion of Medicaid – the guts of the federal Affordable Care Act.
Instead, the funding is largely related to federal grants Louisiana had previously been receiving for programs that were swept into Obamacare, said state Department of Health and Hospitals chief of staff Frank Opelka Jr.
“We exam these grants ‘Is it good for the state? Is it not good for the state?'” said Opelka. “It just so happens these were the grants in ACA that fit that model.”
The Reuters’ story said Jindal and three other Republican governors eying presidential bids – Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, New Jersey’s Chris Christie and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry – secured at least $352 million under Obamacare for their states while opposing the law.
Of Louisiana’s funds, some $50 million is related to a nurse family partnership multi-year grant program that has been in place since 1999, Opelka said. Nurses go to the homes of pregnant women and those with young children, he said.
Other funding cited in the Reuter’s report included $1.25 million for a medical school student loan repayment program which rewards physicians who opt to practice in rural settings and five or six public health grants for such things as HIV-AIDS treatment, tobacco cessation and epidemeology, Opelka said.
Opelka said the state initially accepted about a $1 million grant to establish a state-based health insurance exchange allowed under Obamacare. “It’s something we looked a doing but quicky realized it was not cost-effective and gave the money back,” he said. The money was returned in March 2011.