Texas will not expand its Medicaid program or establish a health insurance exchange as provided in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act AKA “ObamaCare”:
Texas will not expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance exchange, two major tenets of the federal health reform that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld last month, Gov. Rick Perry said in an early morning announcement.
“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.”
Perry’s office sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday morning asserting his opposition, both to accepting more than a hundred million federal dollars over the next several years to put more poor Texas adults onto Medicaid, and to creating an Orbitz-style online insurance marketplace for consumers.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states — even Texas, which has the country’s highest rate of the uninsured — may not be punished for opting out of the Medicaid. The insurance exchange is not optional; if Texas doesn’t devise its own, the feds will establish a one-size-fits-all program for the state.
“If anyone was in doubt, we in Texas have no intention to implement so-called state exchanges or to expand Medicaid under Obamacare,” Perry said in a statement. “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.”
I think this step was a foregone conclusion after the Supreme Court’s decision.
As I’ve pointed out any number of times people without healthcare insurance are disproportionately in just five states and the state with the highest absolute number and proportion of people without healthcare insurance is Texas. Texas’s opting out is a big deal. It alters the figures on how many people will be without healthcare insurance drastically. If your actual intent is to ensure that the greatest number of Americans have healthcare insurance, you’ve got to have Texas’s cooperation.
I don’t believe that Gov. Perry’s move will prove unpopular in Texas or that it is mere political posturing. Disagree with it or not I believe it’s a matter of genuine conviction. There are actual differences of opinion on this subject and discounting that does not advance the conversation.