When it comes to the debate over health care policy, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) has long been an interesting character. Remember when President Obama delivered a speech on reform to a joint session of Congress in September 2009? Republicans tapped Boustany, a cardiovascular surgeon by trade, to deliver the official GOP response.
But even then, he seemed unsure of his own message. The night of his national address, Boustany said he wanted the majority party to throw away the progress they’d made and “start over” on a proposal intended to make Republicans happy. Less than 24 hours later, Boustany told msnbc he agreed with “about 80 percent” of the Democratic plan, which made his “start over” demands seem rather odd.
His confusion hasn’t gone away. Here was the Louisiana congressman just last week:
A powerful Republican congressman from Louisiana wants his state to take up the Medicaid expansion made optional by Obamacare and build an insurance exchange to implement the law, breaking with his GOP governor and conservatives on an explosive issue.
Rep. Charles Boustany, the chairman of the Ways and Means subcommittee on oversight, told constituents last week that if he had his way, Louisiana would accept the offer under the Affordable Care Act and reform Medicaid into a “21st century program,” according to the The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette.
Boustany reportedly told constituents that failing to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act “could put Louisiana in a very bad place,” adding, “To sit back and do nothing is not an answer.”
Once these comments came to public light, wouldn’t you know it, Boustany changed his mind. This week, the congressman insisted, “To expand Medicaid without a significant reform … would be a big mistake.” He added, “My efforts right now are in opposition to Obamacare. Medicaid is a deeply flawed program.”
Less than a week after encouraging Louisiana to create an exchange, Boustany now says he agrees with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) decision not to create an exchange.
Apparently, one of the congressional Republicans’ top lawmakers on health care policy discovered it doesn’t matter whether Louisiana is in “a very bad place” or not?