About 25% of Texans don’t have health insurance, the highest rate in the country. This is one area where Texas shouldn’t want to be bigger than everybody else. This high number of uninsured is because states set eligibility based on the poverty line, and Texas sets theirs really low — at only 27% of that line.
By contrast, the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare would cover people up to 133% of the poverty line, which in states like Texas would make an enormous difference. The cost to Texas for such an expansion? Zero for the first three years, and then ten percent thereafter.
Sounds like a good deal, right? Except that Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he won’t participate. He’s going to hold his breath until all the uninsured turn blue.
Besides refusing to participate in the Medicaid expansion, Perry says he won’t set up an insurance exchange to help people buy coverage from competing private insurers.
This is all about Perry setting himself up to run again for president in 2016, this time without the back surgery, pain pills, and “oops.” Of course, if he does need more back surgery and pain pills, no problem. He has health insurance.
But ultimately I believe Perry, and other refusenik governors like Rick Scott of Florida, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and Nikki Haley of South Carolina, will cave. They will be under too much pressure from their hospitals and their citizens will not be pleased to watch so much federal money flowing to other states.