Governor 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.”