That’s what I thought when I heard Bobby Jindal speak for the first time. It was at Southeastern University, where he gave an hour presentation on the status 0f the LA Medicaid program. At this time he had been the head of DHH (Department of Health an Hospitals), for a little over a year, as a Mike Foster appointee. When he was appointed at the age of 24, he was touted as the “Wonder Boy-Genius”.
I had heard a lot about him, mainly how he was totally dismantling the Nursing Home business because of the wholesale cuts he was making to the LA Medicaid program. Being a newbie in the Nursing Home business, I thought it would be interesting to hear him speak about his strategy for Medicaid reform. I was pleasantly surprised. I thought to myself, “in the coming years, this guy will be running for president”
Before he was appointed to head up DHH, LA Medicaid ranked 49th out of the 50 states, and was facing bankruptcy with a $400 million deficit. In less than two years, Jindal had brought the LA Medicaid program into solvency with a $200 million surplus, a state ranking of 11, with other states looking to LA as a model of efficiency. I was fascinated by the way he explained his strategies, processes, and the logic behind his reform philosophy. He presented the information in a style, that any lay-person could understand. I was completely riveted and I learned about some key issues, that the normal Louisiana resident would know nothing about, or really care about (unless it affected their little ‘kingdom”).
Jindal explained how they dismantled several clinics in the New Orleans area that were rife with fraud, as they had bilked the Medicaid system for years. They were “ghost” treating patients, that were either non-existent, had no real medical problems, or had been deceased for years. He spoke about how he and others “cased” these clinics for weeks, to gather enough evidence to press criminal charges against the administration of the clinics, as well as the physicians, that were receiving kick-backs and pay-outs. This was a great example of the inefficiencies and corruption that had gone unchecked for years.
Here was the problem I faced. Medicaid cuts, and the removal of inefficiencies were happening across the board, under Jindal’s directive. It was affecting my kingdom, the Nursing Home Business. In order to save the Medicaid program, cuts would have to be made across the board. It is always the same when the Federal Government enacts Medicare cuts across the board, it usually causes a severe burden to the Long-Term Care industry, as it is heavily reliant on Medicare dollars. But you see, as Americans, we have let the government creep into the private sector, taint true capitalism, and force us to consider and vote for a candidate based on singular issues, and it is primarily related to the government dollars that affect each individuals occupation, livelihood, and employment.
If you speak with most Louisiana Conservatives and you mention Governor Scott Walker, from Wisconsin, you receive positive comments on how he is making hard cuts, balancing the budget, removing government- Union waste, and implementing efficiencies. Isn’t Bobby Jindal doing the same thing. It’s a problem, that is hard for LA Conservatives to reconcile, because now the cuts hit home, and affect each individual’s government entitled kingdom. A good example are the Teachers in Louisiana. I know of several social and fiscal Conservatives that are teachers. All of them dislike Bobby Jindal, and would not vote for him if he ran for President. Why, because he has disrupted their little kingdom by demanding accountability, removing tenure, and making budget cuts. There are plenty of state workers and folks that work in higher education in this state that if you went down the list of “What makes you a Conservative”, they would fit the profile every time. However, when you mention the name of Bobby Jindal, he is despised in these circles, because he has taken dollars from programs or institutions that have created employment, or affects their livelihood directly or indirectly.
When my father had to take a pay-cut years ago with his job, he sat our family down, and spoke of “tightening the belt”, and making cuts to some of our daily expenses and allowances. This did not sit well with the siblings. We were going to lose our “hand-outs”. Yet dad made it clear, it was very important to save the family, financially, and that each, single member had to give up their kingdom and make sacrifices.
As I speak with Conservatives, like myself, I wonder if they are true Capitalists, that believe in true free-markets, and that the best goods and services come from business and the efficiencies of the Private Sector. All I see Bobby Jindal doing is enacting tried and true business principles, to make this state friendly for new industry (doesn’t the typical Conservative scream about job creation), balance the budget, and eliminate waste. Why couldn’t he put those principles to work for the good of America.