Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) refuses to expand Medicaid in Texas for only one reason: it’s got Barack Obama’s name on it.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government fully funds Medicaid expansion until 2016 and gradually reduces its contribution to 90 percent in 2020 and subsequent years. Texas – which has the highest percentage of uninsured residents – would never pay more than 7 percent of the cost of providing coverage to Texans, but Texas Republicans argued that “even $1 in the name of ‘Obamacare’ was a dollar too much.” “Texas will not be held hostage by the Obama administration’s attempt to force us into this fool’s errand of adding more than a million Texans to a broken system,” Perry said. The decision means a loss of approximately $7 billion for Texas hospitals, which comes on top of the $700 million a year reduction in Medicaid payments from state budget shortfalls and cuts under sequestration.
That means that 1.5 million people in Texas will go without healthcare because the governor of the state is a political whackjob, willing to make a choice that not even Rick Scott of Florida or Jan Brewer — neither of them known for their moderate points of view — are willing to make for the sake of the people of their state.
On the upside — if there can possibly be one — it may be the straw that breaks the back of the Tea Party grip on the state. How many of those 1.5 million people vote?