Senator David Vitter (R-LA) grabbed headlines in the run-up to the recent government shutdown by trying to deny his own staff health insurance coverage as a scalp Republicans could claim in exchange for keeping the government open.
Simply put: The so-called “Vitter Amendment” would take away health-care subsidies for congressional staffers who were forced into the Affordable Care Act exchanges by Republicans eager to oblige Congress to “go on Obamacare.” The effect would either be a huge pay cut or a lot of uninsured staffers, all so the senator from Louisiana could make a point.
Vitter is famous for admitting to visiting prostitutes, then being re-elected. So you could say that he doesn’t have a big problem screwing people who work for him.
On CNN’s Crossfire this week, the senator was called out by host Van Jones for a disconcerting lack of concern for the uninsured, except when he can opportunely use cancellation notices to attack the president’s health care law.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) then followed up with a tour de force of righteous anger over Vitter’s opposition to Obamacare and his state’s unwillingness to expand Medicaid to the 200,000 estimated Louisanians who are eligible:
“…20 percent of your people are living in poverty, about 20 percent of the people in Louisiana have no health insurance at all, and when you vote against the Affordable Care Act, what you’re telling those people is that they are not going to get health insurance. As you well know, your state — I gather you — has rejected that Medicaid should be expanded, and other Republican governors have done the same. So, it seems to me, that when you have people who are working really hard and trying to make a living, who desperately need health insurance, and when the Affordable Care Act said that we are going to expand Medicaid, you and others are saying ‘No, no, no, it’s okay for over 200,000 people in Louisiana not to take it,’ and I think that’s wrong!