John Bel Edwards

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cassidy vs. Sanders headed to CNN Sept. 25

Posted By on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Bill Cassidy join Lindsey Graham and Amy Klobuchar to debate health care legislation Sept. 25 on CNN. - PHOTOS BY AFGE & GAGE SKIDMORE/CREATIVE COMMONS
  • Sens. Bernie Sanders and Bill Cassidy join Lindsey Graham and Amy Klobuchar to debate health care legislation Sept. 25 on CNN.

CNN will air a "town hall" Monday, Sept. 25 with U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham debating Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar over proposed health care legislation.

Anchor Jake Tapper and chief political correspondent Dana Bash will moderate the 90-minute event, aired live at 8 p.m.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Jimmy Kimmel: 'Bill Cassidy just lied right to my face'

Posted By on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 10:23 PM


U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy got lots of publicity in the last few months for saying any GOP health care plan would have to pass the "Jimmy Kimmel test" — a term he coined after talking with the late night talk show host, whose son needed open-heart surgery shortly after birth. Cassidy, a physician, promised Kimmel and others that any Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act would include coverage for all; no discrimination for pre-existing conditions; lower premiums for families; and no lifetime caps on coverage.

The new Graham-Cassidy health care bill, unveiled this week, does none of these things, as many medical groups have pointed out — as have Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana Health Secretary Rebekah Gee, who wrote letters objecting to the proposed legislation. Kimmel chimed in tonight on his talk show, saying, "Bill Cassidy just lied to my face."
"Before you post a nasty Facebook message saying I'm politicizing my son's health problems, I want you to know: I am politicizing my son's health problems. Because I have to."
"There's a new Jimmy Kimmel test for you," Kimmel concluded. "It's a lie detector test, and you're welcome to stop by the studio and take it any time."

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Editorial: After Charlottesville

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 6:09 PM

Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017. - CREATIVE COMMONS/ANTHONY CRIDER
  • Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017.

Watching the images and hearing the words out of Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend was depressing, sickening, infuriating — and necessary. Necessary because the country got a good look at the people who call themselves the “alt-right,” which is their sanitized term for neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Klansmen and other haters who feel emboldened in America today. It’s also necessary because some of them are planning similar rallies in Boston, San Francisco and elsewhere in the coming days and weeks.

Some of the malefactors who caused harm in Charlottesville also were in New Orleans during the weeks surrounding the hotly contested removal of four Confederate monuments. It’s easy to say New Orleans was lucky it didn’t have the chaos and death that marked Charlottesville, but it was more than luck. It was planning.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Edwards, Landrieu, other officials inspect flood damage in Treme

Posted By on Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 3:37 PM

Gov. John Bel Edwards, center, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu toured a flooding spot in Treme this afternoon.
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards, center, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu toured a flooding spot in Treme this afternoon.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, various state senators and representatives, along with a few City Councilmembers, stopped at Willie Mae's Scotch House in Treme this afternoon to discuss the weekend's flood.

Landrieu, who arrived in town this morning from Aspen, Colorado, where he was attending a security conference, toured the restaurant with owner Kerry Seaton Stewart and did a walk-through of a flooded apartment across the street, where a drum kit and a keyboard were among the things that seemed to have taken on water.

"You never know what Mother Nature is gonna throw at you," Edwards said, adding that the state was still assessing the situation to determine whether formal emergency aid would be requested. "We're not bashful about asking for assistance when it's needed," he added.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

John Bel Edwards' tactical pivot

Posted By on Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 12:26 PM

Gov. John Bel Edwards.
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Less than a month after throwing down a fiscal gauntlet to House Republican leaders, Gov. John Bel Edwards has tacked toward Louisiana business leaders in an effort to address the so-called “fiscal cliff” of 2018 — and possibly start a meaningful statewide conversation about long-term tax and budget reform.

That’s a significant — and tactical — pivot by the governor. The stakes are high, both fiscally and politically.

The “cliff” is approximately $1.2 billion in temporary taxes set to expire on June 30, 2018. If that money is not replaced, lawmakers (and Edwards) will have to slash the state budget — mostly in higher education and health care, but no services will be immune from cuts. For now, Edwards and House Republican leaders are stalemated over how to proceed.

On Tuesday (Aug. 8), Edwards will meet with about two dozen business leaders from across the state to discuss where to go from here. The governor has his sights set on a statewide listening tour, which could make Tuesday’s meeting the launch of a campaign for fiscal reform.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Gov. Edwards calls conservatives' bluff

Posted By on Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 1:39 PM

From left, House speaker Taylor Barras, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Senate president John Alario. - PHOTO BY SARAH GAMARD
  • From left, House speaker Taylor Barras, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Senate president John Alario.

If you talk to conservative state lawmakers and business leaders in Louisiana, they’ll tell you there’s no “appetite” for fiscal reform. They all know what fiscal reform looks like, they just don’t see a way to get from where Louisiana is today to where it needs to be in the future, or even next year.

Gov. John Bel Edwards blames House Republicans, who have blunted his efforts to raise taxes. In fairness, the governor also balked at reforms proposed last November by a nonpartisan task force that studied tax policy for almost a year. Instead of backing the task force’s recommendations, Edwards floated an idea that struck many as coming out of left field: a commercial activity tax, or CAT. That idea went nowhere fast.
On the other hand, the GOP-led House failed to offer a reasonable alternative of its own, other than significant cuts this year and draconian cuts next year. Edwards and the Senate, which generally sides with the governor on fiscal issues, tamped down the House plan this year — but Louisiana’s long-range prospects remain untenable.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Edwards joins bipartisan group of governors saying Senate should reject repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 4:12 PM

President Donald Trump said today, "Let Obamacare fail; it'll be a lot easier." - CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • President Donald Trump said today, "Let Obamacare fail; it'll be a lot easier."

The Senate health care replacement for the Affordable Care Act may have collapsed (though Congressional GOP leaders and President Donald Trump have expressed support for "just repeal" rather than "repeal and replace"), but a bipartisan group of governors — including Gov. John Bel Edwards — has issued a statement calling for the repeal's rejection.

"The Senate should immediately reject efforts to 'repeal' the current system and replace sometime later," the statement reads. "This could leave millions of Americans without coverage. The best next step is for both parties to come together and do what we can all agree on: fix our unstable insurance markets."

Since Edwards implemented the federal Medicaid expansion in Louisiana one year ago, more than 400,000 Louisianans have gotten health care. The repeal would leave them in limbo. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was set to reveal its analysis of the bill yesterday, but did not do so.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Senate bill would cut health care to 'hundreds of thousands' on Medicaid in Louisiana

Posted By on Mon, Jun 26, 2017 at 6:00 PM

  • U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy.

As the U.S. Senate mulls a vote on the GOP's recently released bill designed to gut the Affordable Care Act, Louisiana officials and medical groups are urging senators to consider the potentially devastating impact it could have to people relying on Medicaid's expansion in the state.

In July 2016, Gov. John Bel Edwards approved Medicaid's expansion to include coverage for more than 433,000 people in the state, including more than 100,000 receiving preventive cancer treatment and more than 15,000 women who have received breast cancer screenings. More than 150 people were diagnosed with colon cancer after screenings made possible through recent Medicaid coverage.

Today's report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the Senate's "Better Care Reconciliation Act" would increase the number of uninsured people in the U.S. by 22 million while reducing the federal deficit by $321 billion from 2017-2026 — mostly by cutting spending on Medicaid, which would decline in 2026 by 26 percent compared to projections based on current law. Medicaid would lose more than $770 billion by 2026.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Louisiana lawmakers, activists urge Sens. Cassidy and Kennedy to condemn Senate health care bill

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 9:36 AM

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the bill "specifically disadvantages" Louisiana. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards said the bill "specifically disadvantages" Louisiana.

With the release of a 142-page draft early Thursday morning, the Senate finally revealed its much-anticipated (and, by many, dreaded) plan that could make good on the long-term Republican promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare.

The bill's release offered the first opportunity for the public — and many underinformed senators — to view and critique the Senate's plan, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Before its reveal, the bill already had come under fire for an unusually secretive drafting process featuring no public hearings and little debate on the Senate floor.

Within its text: higher premiums for older people, the elimination of the individual and employer mandates (you won't have to carry insurance, and employers don't have to provide it for you), a year-long freeze on Planned Parenthood funding, fewer subsidies to help people buy insurance and cuts to federal Medicaid dollars which support the working poor, 40 percent of American children and people with disabilities. (An easy-to-read breakdown is being updated at The Washington Post.)

Throughout the state, a chorus of lawmakers, public health observers and activists have begun to speak out against this health care plan. But the power lies with Louisiana Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Neely Kennedy, who will now turn their attentions to the legislation ahead of a potential vote next week.

Perhaps due to the bill's length and complexity, they have yet to comment extensively on the bill's details. Instead, they've leaned on familiar rhetoric from the past several weeks.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Editorial: 'Smart on crime' one of the successes of the 2017 Louisiana legislative session

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 2:41 PM

State Rep. Joe Marino, I-Gretna (right). - SARAH GAMARD | MANSHIP SCHOOL NEWS SERVICE
  • State Rep. Joe Marino, I-Gretna (right).
The 2017 regular legislative session has been widely — and rightly — criticized for its failure to produce long-term fiscal reform. Yet, despite lawmakers’ failure to work together on fiscal issues, they showed true bipartisanship in succeeding on another, equally important front: criminal justice reform. The long-term impact of that success cannot be overstated.

After decades of pretending to be “tough on crime,” lawmakers finally enacted policies that reflect what enlightened law enforcement leaders have known all along: we cannot jail our way to safety. Spurred by objective data from the Pew Charitable Trust, a yearlong study by the bipartisan Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force, and critical support from conservative as well as progressive voices across the state, lawmakers passed a package of 10 bills that significantly overhaul Louisiana’s sentencing, probation, parole and re-entry laws.

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