Mike Kueber's Blog

July 9, 2012

Rick Perry tells President Obama to quit messing with Texas

Filed under: Issues,Medical,People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 6:47 pm
Tags: , ,

According to an article in today’s Texas Tribune, Texas governor Rick Perry has decided that Texas will resist the implementation of ObamaCare:

  • If anyone was in doubt, we in Texas have no intention to implement so-called state exchanges or to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.  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 Tribune article points out that the decision with respect to state exchanges is not significant because ObamaCare provides that when a state refuses to set up an insurance supermarket, the federal government will step in with its own federal exchange.  But Perry’s decision is important with respect to the expansion of Medicaid.  The Medicaid expansion to individuals who earn up to 133% of the poverty line is essential to the ObamaCare objective of providing near universal health-insurance coverage.  According to a Fox Business report, ObamaCare is designed to extend health-insurance coverage to 16 million uninsured Americans through the insurance exchanges and another 16 million Americans through the Medicaid expansion. 

The Perry decision is bound to be controversial because (a) Texas has the nation’s highest rate of uninsureds (6.1 million) and (b) the federal government has promised to pay 90% of the cost of this expansion.  (Reminds me of that old saying from Alexis de Tocqueville about the proclivity of government to bribe people with their own money -“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”) 

During the next ten years, according to DallasNews.com, the Medicaid expansion in Texas would cost the federal government $112 billion and Texas $9.5 billion.   Thus, many pundits predicted that states would be reluctant to turn down federal largesse, but Texas isn’t alone in tellling the federal government to go to hell.  Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal made a similar threat on a Sunday talk show last week, and according to an article in the Washington Times, there are more than a half dozen Republican governors who have made similar declarations.  According to TheHill.com, there are at least eight such governors, but it fails to identify them.  Slate.com places Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and Florida governor Rick Scott on the list of recalcitrant Republican leaders.        

DallasNews.com pointed out that Texas’s 6.1 million uninsured people, and “these folks obviously consume health care services, so their health costs get distributed across other populations: hospitals, insured consumers (who pay higher insurance premiums, to make up for the costs of the uninsured) and local taxpayers (who fund county hospitals that treat the uninsured).” 

Because of these facts, DallasNews.com pointed out the moderate Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, offered only partial support for Governor Perry:

  • Straus opposes the federal health law, and said he hopes Republicans will recapture the White House and Senate, and repeal it. If the law stands, however, Straus said the Legislature “will be much more involved in the decision making on this.”
  • But he said of Perry, “I have no quarrel with his approach today.”
  • The proposed Medicaid expansion as “a big, massive federal increase, … another entitlement,” that he said is unwise, “especially in these fiscal times.”

As a matter of principle, I agree with Rick Perry’s understanding of the federalism and the Tenth Amendment.  It is difficult to stand on principle, however, when it costs your citizens more than $100 billion over ten years.  I would accept the federal bribe while continuing to work toward the replacement of those politicians in Washington who delight in ignoring the Tenth Amendment.

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