Governor Rick Perry has confirmed in a letter today to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that he's no pal of socialism and as such, must reject two key measures of Obamacare - a state insurance exchange and expanding Medicaid.
To embrace a state exchange would mean playing by U.S. government rules - and even though Perry doesn't know what those are exactly (because they haven't all been pomulgated yet) - he is certain they will be bad for Texas.
As for expanding Medicaid - that would mean allowing millions more Texans into the program, a program Perry already thinks won't last and the whole thing will just end up costing more taxpayer money.
Perry, who deftly turned away federal "Race to the Top" education dollars because he didn't want the state's own education standards to be replaced by federal ones, is once again calling on the people of this state to make their own way without interference from the feds. Even if it means giving up millions of dollars in aid.
He also turned down federal funds for the Unemployment Insurance program in Texas in 2009 because that would have meant more people would qualify for benefits. But Perry knew helping more out-of-work people then would have mean higher unemployment taxes for businesses later.
"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. "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 stand proudly with the growing chorus of governors who reject the Obamacare power grab. 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."
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In the press release distributed today, it notes that "Perry has frequently called for the allocation of Medicaid funding in block grants so each state can tailor the program to specifically serve the needs of its unique challenges."
Perry has "a vision to transform Medicaid into a system that reinforces individual responsibility, eliminates fragmentation and duplication, controls costs and focuses on quality health outcomes. This would include establishing reasonable benefits, personal accountability, and limits on services in Medicaid. It would also allow co-pays or cost sharing that apply to all Medicaid eligible groups - not just optional Medicaid populations - and tailor benefits to needs of the individual rather than a blanket entitlement."
The Perry manifesto did not include an explanation of who would be entitled to Medicaid payments or how they would be "tailored" -- do you get more if you paid into the system or less if you have your own money?
But stay tuned. With material this good to work with, there's no way this is Perry's last word on our President, his programs or how we educate our kids and take care of peoples' health needs.