On a local radio show yesterday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) attacked President Obama’s health care reform plan as “disastrous.” Perry — who suggested in April at one of the right-wing “tea parties” that Texas may have to secede from the union — even went so far as threatening to invoke the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to resist health care reform and suggested other states would do the same:
Perry said his first hope is that Congress will defeat the plan, which both Perry and Davis described as “Obama Care.” But should it pass, Perry predicted that Texas and a “number” of states might resist the federal health mandate.
“I think you’ll hear states and governors standing up and saying ‘no’ to this type of encroachment on the states with their healthcare,” Perry said. “So my hope is that we never have to have that stand-up. But I’m certainly willing and ready for the fight if this administration continues to try to force their very expansive government philosophy down our collective throats.” [...]
“It really is a state issue, and if there was ever an argument for the 10th Amendment and for letting the states find a solution to their problems, this may be at the top of the class,” Perry said. “A government-run healthcare system is financially unstable. It’s not the solution.”
In April, Perry announced his support for a non-binding resolution in the Texas House that says the federal government has overstepped the authority granted to it under the Constitution. Salon’s Alex Koppelman notes that the states’ rights claim is on shaky legal ground.
Moreover, Perry’s “state sovereignty” cries don’t carry much credibility. In March, he rejected $555 million in federal stimulus funds to expand unemployment benefits, arguing that accepting the money would burden Texans with “higher taxes and expanded obligations.” However, just this month, Perry was forced to ask the federal government for a $170 million loan to cover unemployment insurance and the state is expected to request a total of $650 million, around $100 million more than Perry originally rejected.
Texas has the highest percentage of those without health insurance in the entire country. A U.S. Census Bureau report released last August showed that nearly 25 percent of Texans (just over 5.5 million residents) lacked insurance (compared to a national average of 15.5 percent). A Families USA report released in March found that the number of uninsured in Texas throughout 2007 and 2008 is much higher, around 9.3 million:
The report went further to say that 7.5 million Texans were uninsured for six months or more during that same time period and about 82.6 percent, were in working families, either working full or part-time.
“I can’t imagine that anyone from Texas who cares about this state would vote for Obama Care. I don’t care whether you’re Democrat or Republican,” Perry said. He then criticized those representing Texas in Congress who may be considering supporting health care reform. “This may sound a little bit harsh, but they might ought to consider representing some other state because they’re sure not representing Texas.”