Republican Govs. Bobby Jindal (La.) and Bob McDonnell (Va.) today attacked the individual mandate at the heart of the health care law, dismissing Mitt Romney’s signing of a similar law in Massachusetts — but not before Jindal goofed and said “Obamney” as he was discussing the issue.
Both governors seized on the Supreme Court’s ruling, which upheld the law because justices reasoned the mandate to buy health insurance amounts to a tax that Congress is well within its constitutional limits to levy.
Jindal said the bottom line for voters come November is “one [candidate] will continue this large income tax increase,” and one will repeal it. Jindal slipped up and said “Obamney” before catching his mistake and returning to calling it “Obamacare.”
During the Republican primaries, Romney’s opponents frequently referred to the health care reform law as “Obamneycare” because a Massachusetts law signed by Romney served as the model for Obama’s overhaul.
Romney’s health care law in Massachusetts charges uninsured people a tax penalty of up to one-half of the cost of the cheapest health insurance plan — a maximum of $1,260 this year. In many cases that tax is higher than the one included in the federal health care law.
McDonnell ripped the health care law’s provision as “a whopping tax on the citizens of the United States” who are already suffering with high unemployment.
Jindal said that at least the Supreme Court was “a lot more honest about Obamacare than President Obama has been” by labeling the mandate a tax.
Jindal, meanwhile, was more aggressive on the call than McDonnell on plans to fight Obamacare at the state level. “We’ve not applied for the grants, we have not accepted many of these dollars,” he said. “We are going to do everything we can to fight it.”
But neither governor committed to not taking the billions of dollars in federal subsidies to expand Medicaid, first at 100 percent reimbursement and later at 90 percent.
Both hoped that the law will be repealed well before the expansion takes effect.
But McDonnell said he is still assessing what he would do if it stays on the books.
“Each state now needs to decide whether or not it makes sense to enact this Medicaid expansion,” he said.
Jindal also said that the federal government should grant much more flexibility to states with their existing Medicaid money — saying that the Obama administration has not been flexible enough.
Obama yesterday repeated his call for Congress to give states the ability to design their own health care plans in 2014, but Jindal said that if he was serious about flexibility, Obama should use his existing authority to grant states the ability to design their own Medicaid systems.
“We’ve not seen more flexibility,” he said.
Correction: 1:03 p.m.
An earlier version of this article misquoted Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. He said "Obamney" while discussing the health care law.