AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Texas has no intention of implementing a state insurance exchange or expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, Gov. Rick Perry stated in a letter Monday to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebellius.
"I will not be party to socializing healthcare or bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government," Perry wrote.
The governor said he joins a "growing chorus" of governors who reject the "Obamacare power grab." Perry said neither a state exchange nor the expansion of Medicaid under the program would result in better patient protection or more affordable care.
"They would only make Texas a mere appendage of the federal government when it comes to healthcare."
Perry said the "Orwellian-named" Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act does not allow states to create and operate their own exchanges. He said the program gives the federal government the final say as to which insurance plans can participate, what benefits those plans must provide and what price controls and cost limits will apply.
"In short, it essentially treats the states like subcontractors through which the federal government can control the insurance markets and pursue federal priorities rather than those of the individual states," he wrote.
The proposed Medicaid expansion would "simply enlarge a broken system that is already financially unsustainable."
"Medicaid is a system of inflexible mandates, one-sizefits-all requirements, and wasteful, bureaucratic inefficiencies. Expanding it as the PPACA provides would only exacerbate the failure of the current system, and would threaten even Texas with financial ruin."
Perry has stated that Medicaid funding should be allocated in block grants so each state can tailor the program to specifically serve the needs of its unique challenges. According to a press release from the Governor's Office, Perry would like to see a plan that would include establishing reasonable benefits, personal accountability and limits on services in Medicaid. His alternative would also allow co-pays or cost sharing that apply to all Medicaid eligible groups and tailor benefits to needs of the individual rather than a blanket entitlement.
Perry said he looked forward to implementing health care solutions "that are right for the people of Texas."
"In the meantime, the PPACA's unsound encroachments will find no foothold here," he concluded.