Rick Perry Should Be Thankful For The Federal Health Care Dollars Flowing Into Texas

Politico’s Kate Nocera has a good piece explaining why this holiday season Rick Perry must be thankful for all the federal dollars that flowing into Texas, even if he publicly rails against Washington spending on the campaign trail:

More than $380 million in early grants and other aid from the federal health law have already gone to businesses and agencies in the Lone Star State, according to figures from the HHS, and Texas ended up with $17 billion from the stimulus.

Now, the state is waiting for final approval of a new waiver from federal Medicaid rules that could allow the state to draw down an additional $12 billion in funds from the federal government.

And that’s before the main parts of the Affordable Care Act even kick in, which will bring billions of dollars to Texas in extra Medicaid funds and subsidies to help people buy private coverage through a new health insurance exchange.

Indeed, despite the “Washington is overreaching in health care shtick,” Perry is a big believer in bringing back the federal dollars that Texas pays out in taxes: he has asked for and accepted federal stimulus funds for the Medicaid program, is close to securing the state’s 17th Medicaid waiver, has benefited from millions of dollars in grants included in the Affordable Care Act, and will soon expand access to health care for lower-income Texans on Washington’s dime (in accordance with health care reform). So while the governor talks about — and even believes in — allowing states to act as laboratories of democracy and design their own health care systems, his tenure suggests very little of that innovation could be sustained without federal aid.