Former Gov. Bobby Jindal, who made his opposition to Medicaid expansion in Louisiana a cornerstone of his gubernatorial platform and a talking point in his 2016 campaign for president, has joined the board of directors of WellCare Health Plans, Inc., a Florida-based company that "focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans."
In a statement today announcing Jindal's appointment, WellCare chairman Chris Michalik said, “As a leader who has dedicated his career to public service and advancing innovative healthcare policies, his broad knowledge and expertise in Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and other government-sponsored programs will support WellCare’s focus on providing access to high-quality care and services to our members and cost-effective healthcare solutions to our government customers.”
Jindal's opposition to Medicaid and "government-sponsored programs" was part of his Republican response to then-President Barack Obama's 2011 State of the Union speech. In 2013, he wrote a guest column that appeared in many newspapers warning that "The President is gradually turning the world’s greatest health care system into the world’s largest welfare system. The left has been very clear — their end goal here is to make all healthcare in America government health care."
According to a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), Jindal will be serving on the company's Audit, Finance and Regulatory Compliance Committee and the Information Technology Oversight Committee. Wellcare board members receive $90,000 per year, the filing says, with additional annual retainers of $12,000 and $8,000 for the two committee positions.
Jindal also will receive 405 shares of Wellcare common stock, which was trading at $307.48 on the New York Stock Exchange at day's end, making the compensation package worth more than $230,000.
The website Axios, in reporting the news, noted Jindal "cut his state's Medicaid funding to plug budget holes and refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act as governor. WellCare has benefitted from Medicaid expansion, covering 2.7 million people on Medicaid and collecting $17 billion in revenue in 2017."
Jindal's successor, Gov. John Bel Edwards, made Medicaid expansion in Louisiana a top priority. The Louisiana Health Insurance Survey released last month found more than 470,000 non-elderly Louisianans have now gotten coverage under its protections, and the number of non-elderly residents who didn't have insurance has been halved, from 22.7 to 11.4 percent.