During a campaign stop for U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan (R-NJ) on Tuesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) offered an odd assessment of President Obama’s signature health care law. “If this health care law is forced upon this country, the young men and women in this audience are the ones who are really going to pay the price,” Perry claimed. “And that, I will suggest to you, reaches to the point of being a felony toward them and their future. That is a criminal act, from my perspective, to put that type of burden on them, to mortgage their future like that.”
In the lead up to this month’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges, the law’s opponents tried to gin up opposition to the law by claiming younger Americans will be hit with significantly higher premiums. These claims, however, are largely overblown. In Minnesota, for example, a 25 year-old nonsmoker will be able to buy coverage for as little as $90.59 a month, and that’s before federal subsidies are taken into account. While it is likely that some young people in some areas will see higher premiums, the subsidies will ensure that the full burden of these premiums are limited to relatively affluent young people.
Although it does not appear that Perry was speaking literally when he labeled implementing a law that was passed by Congress, signed by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court a “felony,” Perry has a long record of doubting the legitimacy of federal actions that he disagrees with. Perry signed unconstitutional legislation nullifying a federal light bulb regulation enacted under President George W. Bush. He’s called Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security unconstitutional. And he once even suggested that Texas could secede from the union.