Perry: Texans will Pay to Deny Health Care to Millions of Texans

line for medical care1 300x196 Perry: Texans will Pay to Deny Health Care to Millions of TexansGovernor Rick Perry’s decision to refuse to participate in federal Medicaid expansion will not only condemn millions of Texans to ill health, suffering and unnecessary death. It will force local taxpayers to pay for the suffering of others. And it means Texans’ federal tax dollars will be used only in other states to improve health and lives.

There’s no political or government philosophy involved here. Perry and other GOP leaders are hurting real people to score political points against President Obama. Lives will be lost. Children will suffer needlessly. All in the name of Perry’s political advertisement.

Progress Texas PAC jumped on Perry’s inhumane decision quickly this morning. The full statement follows:

Texas Governor Puts Political Ambitions Above People by Refusing to Implement Key Tenets of Affordable Care Act

About 2 Million Texans to be Denied Medicaid by Rick Perry

(Austin, Texas) – Texas Governor Rick Perry has decided he will not accept the federal government’s free expansion of Medicaid in Texas or implement the health care exchanges called for by the Affordable Care Act (ACA.) Under the fully funded Medicaid law, a minimum of 1.8 million Texans could have been covered with health care. Instead, Texans will now see their federal tax dollars go to pay for the expansion of Medicaid in other states.

“Politics have always been more important than people to Rick Perry,” said James Moore, Director of Progress Texas PAC. “For political spite, Mr. Perry is condemning the uninsured to ill health and premature death simply because he doesn’t want to help President Obama. Texans already with health insurance will continue to pay for emergency care for the uninsured by having those costs rolled into higher premiums and local tax bills to fund hospitals because of Perry’s decision.”

Although the Texas governor seemed oblivious on national television today to how the ACA works, Texas will have a health care exchange funded by the federal government. Washington will institute the operation at a cost of about $7 billion. Medicaid care, however, will remain at its present levels under the law but could have expanded to cover almost two million more needy Texans and would not have required any federal or state tax increases.

“Rick Perry went on Fox News and said everyone in Texas has health care, which is an obvious lie, and by rejecting to establish our own exchange he’s asking the federal government to come do a job Texans could do,” said Moore.

According to the Republican State Comptroller, Texans are paying for $10.2 billion not compensated by insurance or direct care. Those are costs to local hospitals and clinics for providing care to the uninsured. The money is recovered through increased taxes at hospital districts or the state level. Uncompensated care in Texas is paid for out of increases in local property taxes. 1 out of 4 people in Texas is without health care, the highest rate in the nation.

“The situation for the insured and uninsured in Texas has grown completely absurd,” said Glenn Smith, Director of Progress Texas PAC. “We were just told that we have the worst health care system in the country and then a few days later the governor is turning down a federal program that could end suffering and provide a better life to millions of people in our state. Instead, our tax dollars are going to help people in other states get more affordable health care. Can anyone make sense of this? Is this Rick Perry’s idea of leadership? We need to stop planning for failure.”

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About Glenn W. Smith

Glenn W. Smith has spent the past 30 years in journalism and politics, where he’s made a name for himself as a writer, campaign manager, activist, think tank analyst and, as Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas says, a “legendary political consultant and all-around good guy.” “There’s no one like him,” says author George Lakoff. CNN commentator Paul Begala says, “He has unmatched experience, a graceful pen (or pixel nowadays) and deep insight into the best and worst of us.” Novelist Sarah Bird speaks of his “lucid and lyrical” prose. And, she says, he’s fun. Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington says Glenn writes with “grace and abundant humor” and “uses his colorful experiences in Texas to enlighten us all.”

Smith led Ann Richards’ successful 1990 campaign for Governor of Texas. He worked for former Texas Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby and U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen. Earlier, Smith was a political reporter for the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post. He’s coordinated national campaigns for groups such as MoveOn.org. In 2004, he authored the highly acclaimed book, The Politics of Deceit: Saving Freedom and Democracy from Extinction. He also wrote Unfit Commander, a book that detailed George W. Bush’s mysterious disappearance from military service.

In 2004, Smith was featured in the film, Bush’s Brain, a documentary about Karl Rove. Smith provided commentary on Rove’s role as then-President Bush’s senior advisor. He has made numerous media appearances with Chris Mathews on Hardball, Joe Scarborough, Brit Hume, and many others. He writes a regularly for top national web sites, including FireDogLake and Huffington Post.

As a senior fellow at George Lakoff’s prestigious Rockridge Institute in Berkeley he studied, wrote and taught on the power of metaphor and narrative in political communications. He also lectured on religion and politics at the Starr King School for Ministry in Berkeley. As a sponsor and organizer, he has pulled together numerous national events with progressive religious leaders. He also organized a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King at Riverside Church in New York City as well as “Freedom and Faith” bus tours, which was a nationwide campaign for social justice and progressive values.

Smith’s play, Double Play, which explored American Western myths and legends, was held over to sold-out audiences. He’s even written and performed songs in the Americana tradition, such as his best-known song, “Helping Marty Robbins,” a tribute to his hometown, Houston.

Most recently, Smith is the creator of DogCanyon, a political and cultural web site covering state, national and global issues from a Texas perspective. DogCanyon is an exhilarating and unique site that gets the connections between politics and culture and explores both the personal side of politics and the ups, down, craziness and beauty of “life its ownself,” as humorist Dan Jenkins would say. DogCanyon offers heartfelt personal essays, hard-hitting political analysis, and, most importantly, laughs.

As Paul Begala said, Smith writes in “the finest, firmest, fearless tradition of Texas essayists like Molly Ivins.”