Target: Texas Governor Rick Perry
Goal: Veto measure to limit Medicaid expansion
The GOP-dominated Texas Legislature has sent a bill to Governor Rick Perry that would prohibit the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program called for by the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare). The proposed measure would prevent state health agencies from extending Medicaid assistance to those who would be newly covered under Obamcare. This would entail the forgoing of billions of federal funds that have already been set aside for the purpose; the state’s share in financing the expansion would only have been 7 percent.
In 2012 Governor Perry repeatedly stated his opposition to expanding Medicaid in Texas, labeling the program a ‘broken system’ and calling its expansion a ‘fool’s errand.’ In the aftermath of a difficult election for his party, Perry may seek to sabotage the implementation of Obamacare by signing the bill the state legislature has sent him. This would be tantamount to throwing more than a million Texans under the bus in an effort to snub his political opponents.
The state of Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured people in the entire country (one quarter of the state’s population). That means that about 1.5 million low-income Texans will be affected if Perry signs the bill; they will be deprived of Medicaid assistance to which they would otherwise be entitled. Moreover, preventing Medicaid expansion will put a strain on the state’s budget as the uninsured will be forced to rely on emergency rooms for most of their healthcare needs out of sheer desperation. Don’t let Rick Perry sacrifice the well-being of so many of his constituents merely to take a political stance against Obamacare.
Dear Gov. Rick Perry:
While you have made clear your opposition to the expansion of Medicaid that accompanies the Affordable Care Act’s implementation, I ask you to reconsider signing the bill your state’s legislature has sent to you. Passing the bill would deprive 1.5 million impoverished Texans of their only viable means of receiving healthcare and add to the strain emergency rooms place on the state budget.
Medicaid provides much-needed medical assistance to lower-income Americans, and according to the 2010 US Census your state has the 5th highest poverty rate in the nation and well over 1 million uninsured people. While you have the right to oppose President Obama and his policies, we ask that you do so in a way that does not continue the victimization of so many of your poorest constituents. Republican state legislators like Rep. John Zerwas have already tried crafting compromises that don’t stop Medicaid expansion; I ask that you veto this measure and give legislative committees the chance to draft a better bill.
[Your Name Here]
Photocredit: jmtimages via Flickr