Lindsay Wilcox, NBC 5 News
Governor Rick Perry calls Medicaid a failure and says Texas won't participate in the expansion of the program or create a health care exchange required by the federal law.
Governor Rick Perry says Texas will not expand Medicaid coverage or implement a state insurance exchange, two provisions of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as 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," Perry stated in a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
"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," Perry continued.
SMU Law Professor Tom Mayo specializes in healthcare and questions the wisdom of that choice.
"By Governor Perry saying 'no' to a state insurance exchange he is inviting the federal government to come in and do it for us," says Mayo.
"I don’t see how that protects state sovereignty. "
Perry's letter also stated that the governor "consistently rejected federal funding when strings are attached that impose long-term financial burdens on Texans, or cede state control of state issues to the federal government."
Steve Love with the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, Inc., represents 75 North Texas hospitals in eight counties. He said his member groups plus hospitals across the country had already agreed to big Medicaid reimbursement cuts to help fund the expansion. He says it's 'very unfair' for the state to opt out of the program while the hospitals will still be required to treat uninsured patients in the ER.
Medicaid expansion items included in the Affordable Care Act would expand coverage to low-income Americans and children, according to the federal Medicaid website.
Expansion costs would be paid completely by the federal government for the first three years of the program, with states covering 10-percent of the cost thereafter.
Perry and other state governors are able to "opt-out" of the Medicaid and state insurance exchange portions of the act due to the Supreme Court's decision last month.
Texas has more than 6.2 million uninsured people.