Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) doubled down Monday in his opposition to expanding Medicaid under President Obama’s healthcare law, even though opposing it could cost his state $90 billion.
At a press conference where
he was flanked by other conservatives, Perry argued expanding the health
insurance program for the poor would make
“It would benefit no one in our state to see their taxes skyrocket and our economy crushed as our budget crumbled under the weight of oppressive Medicaid costs,” Perry said at the state capitol.
States can choose whether or not to allow the federal expansion of Medicaid under the Supreme Court’s decision last year to uphold ObamaCare.
Allowing the expansion, in
the case of
That puts Perry in a tough spot.
While his state could use the money, the conservative stalwart and former GOP presidential candidate has been vocally opposed to growing Medicaid, and doing an about-face now could damage his political brand.
Jay Root, a reporter for the Texas Tribune who wrote a book about Perry’s last presidential run, said he could easily return as a presidential contender in coming years.
“The conventional wisdom in
Last month at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a venue known for hosting GOP presidential aspirants, Perry slammed the “unlimited role of government.”
“We care about our poorest Texans,” he said, turning to the Medicaid expansion.
“We want them to have the best care possible, and that cannot happen with a program that is on its way to bankruptcy.”
Perry was surrounded at
Monday’s press conference by top
Each leader slammed Medicaid, which is run jointly by federal and state officials, as an example of government ineptitude.
“Why in the world would we keep expanding this flawed system, and jamming more and more people into a program where they can’t find a doctor who will see them?” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
Perry’s staunch opposition to the Medicaid expansion stand in sharp contrast to other conservative GOP governors who have chosen to embrace the policy.
Jan Brewer (
But Perry said Monday that those leaders will “come to rue the day, because Medicaid will take a larger and larger share of their state budgets.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, states are encouraged to extend eligibility in their Medicaid programs to people living at or below 133 percent of the poverty line.
The law provides mostly federal funding for the expansion in order to entice states to accept it.
The heat surrounding the
debate was evident Monday, as protesters who want
The group shouted “Perry, take the money!” and other slogans in support of the expansion, distracting attention from the Republicans’ remarks.