Rick Perry on Texas’ High Uninsured Rate: “That’s What Texans Wanted”

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Texas currently has to the highest rate of uninsured people in the country, with more than 22% of Texans lacking health coverage. Rick Perry’s refusal to expand Medicaid has worsened the problem, and led to a number of disastrous consequences for Texas. We’ve written extensively about these problems here at BOR, which include:

  • 1 million Texans who remain uninsured because they are stuck in the Medicaid coverage gap
  • $10 billionof potential GDP earnings lost
  • Texas hospitals footing the billion dollar bill for the uninsured’s health costs
  • Texans payingover $36 billion to expand other states’ Medicaid while reaping none of the benefits

Those are just a few of the economic consequences of Perry’s decision, but there have been human costs too. Thanks to Rick Perry, parents making over $3,760 are considered too rich for Medicaid coverage in Texas. Millions of Texans are being forced to make impossible choices between things like tuition or clothes and paying their basic health expenses, all because of Rick Perry’s political choices.

This week, Rick Perry revealed that he doesn’t think the consequences Texans are being forced to face are a problem. In an interview with the New Hampshire Journal, Perry declared the following (emphasis added):

Texas has been criticized for having a large number of uninsured. But that’s what Texans wanted. They did not want a large government program forcing everyone to purchase insurance.”

That’s right, according to Rick Perry, being uninsured is what Texans wanted. They wanted to lose billions of dollars that could have been used to pay for healthcare. They are happily choosing between paying for their college tuition or their doctor’s visits. They welcome the fact that their tax dollars are paying for other people to get healthcare while they remain uninsured. Because according to Rick Perry, they’d rather have their liberty than medicine.

Texas Democratic Party Spokesperson Javier Gamboa responded to Perry’s comments with the following statement:

“Rick Perry should be ashamed of himself for saying that the people of Texas did not want increased coverage and expanded access to healthcare. More than one million hardworking Texans are living without affordable care because of his failure to partner with the legislature to find a Texas solution to closing the coverage gap. This lame excuse won’t work for him in Texas, New Hampshire or the rest of the nation as he runs for president.

Perry owes the hard working people of Texas — especially those who would be covered under Medicaid expansion, and are forced to go without coverage — an apology for his lack of leadership as governor of Texas.”

Perry may no longer be governor, but his attitude towards Texans hasn’t changed one bit: Everyone comes second to his impossible dream of becoming president.

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About Author

Katie Singh

Katie grew up in Austin and has been involved in Texas politics since 2004. She has been a part of several campaigns, from state house races to working at President Obama's campaign headquarters in 2012. She loves public policy, public health, and tacos. Katie tweets from @kasingh19.

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