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David Vitter

If Louisiana can do it…

By “it” I mean expand Medicaid. What’s Texas’ excuse if that happens?

It's constitutional - deal with it

It’s constitutional – deal with it

Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter on Monday left open the possibility of expanding Louisiana’s Medicaid program to cover more of the working poor.

Vitter, a candidate for governor and ardent critic of the health overhaul championed by President Barack Obama, said he’s not opposed to accepting the billions of federal dollars if Louisiana can improve the performance of its Medicaid program rather than expand “a pretty broken system.”

“We need to improve and reform Medicaid, and I want to look at everything that could be brought to bear to do that. Now, could more federal resources help to do that? They could, if it’s done right and if it’s done in a constructive way,” he told the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

He said the expansion must not draw state resources away from other spending priorities like higher education, nor build “disincentives for able-bodied folks to work.”

“We welcome the senator to the conversation about covering more than 240,000 uninsured Louisianians. It’s a shame that he waited until after (the legislative) session to make his opinions known,” state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, said in a written statement.

Vitter’s willingness to consider Medicaid expansion stands in contrast to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s staunch opposition to the idea. The state’s current Republican governor has refused to consider any such proposals, and lawmakers recently killed several expansion bills.

To be clear, I have no reason to believe in David Vitter, who has done very little of merit in his legislative career. Lord only knows what conditions he might impose on accepting those filthy federal funds, and Lord only knows what kind of dealmaking might be needed to get this through Louisiana’s legislature. Even if one believes that Vitter is sincere, we’re a long, long way from anything happening. But just the fact that he’s willing to talk about it means something, and this will be very much worth watching. If this does eventually happen, three of the four states that border Texas will have taken the plunge. One can only hope that it will eventually be contagious. dKos has more.

Election tidbits for 9/23

– KTRK has another round of candidate videos, this time answering the question “How can you help Houstonians get to work?”

– Peter Brown sends out another mailer, this one all about his blueprint for an “Even Better Houston”. You can view it here.

– Tom Schieffer goes to college.

“Carlyfornia”, here we come. To mock for being the worst political website ever.

– Won’t someone please think of the insurance companies?

Greg has an early look at the early voting locations in Harris County. Thanks to the constitutional amendments on the ballot, you don’t have to be in Houston to have something to vote on.

Andrea White is campaigning, too.

– Somehow, my email address wound up on a list that Louisiana Sen. “Diaper David” Vitter sent a missive to. Yeah, I don’t think I’m in his target demographic.

BOR gets some feedback from Rep. Henry Cuellar regarding that R2K poll on health care reform. I look forward to seeing his statement, as what they got from him isn’t exactly crystal clear.

The Ensign affair

Oops.

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), who had been considering a 2012 presidential campaign, has now admitted to an extra-marital affair, and will hold a press conference later today in Nevada to explain it further.

Chris Cillizza reports that the affair took place between December 2007 and August 2008, with a woman who worked for Ensign’s re-election campaign and his Battle Born leadership PAC. The Associated Press reports that the woman was married to one of Ensign’s Senate staffers.

I just have one question: Why is it that adulterer John Edwards and prostitute aficionado Eliot Spitzer are considered to be too disgraced to hold public office any more, while adulterer John Ensign and prostitute aficionado David Vitter are still Senators? I’m just asking. Think Progress, which notes that Ensign had previously called for the resignations of then-President Clinton and Sen. Larry “Wide Stance” Craig, but not Diaper Dave Vitter, has more.