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Gov. Rick Perry says Texas won't expand Medicaid

1:00 PM, Jul 9, 2012   |    comments
Rick Perry (Credit: Getty Images)
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By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said today his state won't comply with two initiatives in President Obama's health care law: the expansion of Medicaid or an exchange to help people buy insurance.

With Perry's letter today to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Texas joins Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina in flouting the U.S. government on the Medicaid provision in the national health care law.

"I will not be party to socializing health care and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government," wrote Perry, who briefly ran for the GOP presidential nomination this year.

Perry said he stands "proudly with the growing chorus of governors" who reject the Affordable Care Act's "power grab."

The Supreme Court last month upheld the health care law as constitutional. But the justices voted 7-2 to strike down the part of the law that would have forced states to accept a major expansion of Medicaid, the joint federal-state health program for the poor and disabled. As the law was written and enacted, states that did not accept the Medicaid expansion could have lost all their future Medicaid funding.

Under the health care law, if states opt not to set up a health insurance exchange, then the federal government will do so for them.

Texas has one of the nation's largest percentages of uninsured residents, with about 6.2 million Texans -- or about a quarter of the state's population -- without health insurance.

Earlier today, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- who is often mentioned as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney -- said he is still deciding whether his state will implement the health insurance exchange or expand Medicaid. Christie compared the health care law's Medicaid provision to "extortion."

Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, has sometimes opposed federal funding for his state when he believes there are limits attached. In 2010, he rejected education funding under Obama's "Race to the Top" program.

USA TODAY

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