in Houston, Texas
Rep. John Zerwas doubts passage of Texas health insurance exchange; GOP leaders still hoping courts will strike down Obamacare
Wednesday, Mar 30, 2011, 10:05AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
blood pressure cuff

At the start of this legislative session, Republican Rep. John Zerwas told a largely conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation forum that Texas needed to establish its own health insurance exchange before the federal government imposed one on the state.

Even then Zerwas knew that anything remotely attached to the President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would be greeted among his own kind like the bubonic plague.

The chairman of the special House committee overseeing health care in the state budget told the Texas Tribune he thinks his health insurance exchange bill may never make it out of committee.

Zerwas’ own kind in Gov. Rick Perry's office have told him the governor wants nothing to do with his proposal, something both Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst made pretty clear back in Janaury. Both are hoping the Supreme Court will rule the health care act unconstitutional, restoring at least some of the control over public health insurance to Texas and the other states.

"I am absolutely disappointed," Zerwas told the Tribune. "I believe this is one of the most important things we can do to protect our insurance market, by putting a Texas exchange in place."

Utah and Massachusetts already have exchanges, online systems for clients to select their health insurance plans. The Massachusetts program, in particular, has been vilified for its state constriction by conservatives who favor a free market in health insurance.

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or

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Photo of a blood pressure cuff by flickr user jasleen_kaur, used via a Creative Commons license.
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