Gov. Rick Perry: Texas Won’t Implement Key Elements of Health Reform

Rick Perry announced Texas will not implement an expansion of the Medicaid program or establish a health insurance exchange, two major tenets of the federal health reform that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld last month.

Governor Perry followed the suit of Republican governors of Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Louisiana in rejecting the two provisions of the law. Photo: Rick Perry/Flickr

“I stand proudly with the growing chorus of governors who reject the Obamacare power grab,” he said in a statement.

“Neither a ‘state’ exchange nor the expansion of Medicaid under this program would result in better ‘patient protection’ or in more ‘affordable care.’ They would only make Texas a mere appendage of the federal government when it comes to health care.”

Governor’s office sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius expressing Perry’s opposition to accepting millions of federal dollars to put more poor Texas adults onto Medicaid, and to creating an Orbitz-style online insurance marketplace for consumers.

It has been ruled that states won’t be punished avoiding the Medicaid expansion. On Monday, Perry called it the equivalent of adding more people to a sinking Titanic, reports CBS News.

However Dan Stultz, president and CEO of the Texas Hospital Association, thinks that without the expansion, “many will remain uninsured, seeking care in emergency rooms, shifting costs to the privately insured and increasing uncompensated care to health care providers.”

“With a strained state budget, it’s hard to imagine addressing the uninsured problem in Texas without leveraging federal funds, which will now go to other states that choose to expand their Medicaid program,” he xplained.

Analysts claim that the insurance exchange is not optional and in case the state doesn’t devise its own, the feds will establish a one-size-fits-all program for the region.

Still, Perry’s office described the idea of a state-run exchange is “an illusion — we either implement what they want or they do it for us.”

“If anyone was in doubt, we in Texas have no intention to implement so-called state exchanges or to expand Medicaid under Obamacare,” the governor said.

“I will not be party to socializing healthcare and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government.”

The Texas Democratic Party highly criticized Perry’s announcement, calling it “both cruel and negligent.”

“No person with a speck of intelligence would turn down billions in federal dollars that would be a boon to our economy and help Texans,” spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña said in a statement.

“… Rick Perry’s Texas solution is to let Texans stay ill and uninsured. That is not a health care plan,” she added.

In response Texas Governor’s office said that while Perry knows the Medicaid expansion issue is “one he will have to work with the Legislature on,” it was important to him to express his opinion over the provisions.

“He will fight in the upcoming Legislature to ensure it is not expanded,” his office said in a statement.

Monday’s announsement makes Texas the most populous state that has rejected the provisions of the law.

Statistics shows that there are about 6.2 million people are without health insurance in Texas, or 24.6 percent of the state population, the highest percentage in the nation, writes Reuters.

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