In a statement published Monday morning Gov. Perry “proudly” declared that he’ll decline to implement the Medicaid expansion and state-based health care exchange of the Affordable Care Act, leaving approximately 1.2 million low-income Texans without any health insurance. Republican governors in Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Wisconsin have also opted out of providing similar coverage for their residents under health care reform.
According to Perry, providing poor people health care and setting up exchanges that make health insurance cheaper are both “brazen intrusions into the sovereignty of our state.” That’s right, under the 10th Amendment states should have the power to punish the poor simply for being poor. Gotta love the modern-day Republican party.
Perry continued. “I stand proudly with the growing chorus of governors who reject the [Affordable Care Act] power grab,” Perry wrote. “Neither a ‘state’ exchange nor the expansion of Medicaid under the Orwellian-named PPACA would result in better ‘patient protection’ or in more ‘affordable care.’ What they would do is make Texas a mere appendage of the federal government when it comes to health care.” He added that Medicaid is “broken” and “already financially unsustainable,” and that in his view an expansion “would threaten even Texas with financial ruin.”
The state of Texas has one of the most restrictive Medicaid programs in the country, meaning it already serves the poorest of the poor. To qualify in Texas, a family of three must make less than $188 per month to qualify.
“Rick Perry’s announcement is both cruel and negligent,” the Texas Democratic Party retorted in a media advisory. “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. But then again this is Rick Perry. Rick Perry could’ve brought billions in federal dollars to Texas, reduced the rate of the uninsured and improved the quality of life for Texans. Rick Perry’s Texas solution is to let Texans stay ill and uninsured. That is not a health care plan.”
No, it’s not a health care plan. It’s a crusade against the poor.
Photo from eschipul via flickr.