in Houston, Texas
Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s stance against state-run health insurance exchange has national implications for Obamacare rollout: Politico
Tuesday, Apr 05, 2011, 10:27AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
medical supplies

As modest as it is in the overall scope of health care reform, a proposed health insurance exchange and Gov. Rick Perry’s opposition to it have symbolic and practical importance.

At least that’s what Politico is telling us today.

Texans are well aware that their governor does not much care for the insurance exchange or anything else having to do with President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Perry has a staunch ally in Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, who nevertheless introduced a bill calling for Texas to create an exchange, a state-managed marketplace for health insurance. Zerwas said that although he supported repeal of the Affordable Care Act, in the event the effort to repeal it failed, Texas should not wait for the federal government to impose its version of an exchange on the state.

Rick PerryPERRY
Perry has not been persuaded. And as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Politico says, his posture on exchanges and the rest of the bill carries considerable weight.

Texas, with the highest rate of uninsured in the nation, will be a high-profile example as the federal government attempts to use an exchange to bring another 6 million Texans under federal health coverage.

“Since the health care reform legislation came forward, we’ve been really clear that we oppose the bill and its mandates,” Perry’s spokeswoman Lucy Nashed told Politico. “Along that same trend, the governor has been pretty clear that we’re skeptical about implementing anything that resembles Obamacare.”

Like many conservatives, the folks at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which began this legislative session supporting a state-developed exchange, have pulled back, not wanting to influence in any way a Supreme Court challenge to the health care act brought in Florida by 26 states, including Texas.

Arlene Wohlgemuth, director of health policy for the foundation, told Politico she suspects the governor might reverse his position should the High Court uphold the health care law in favor of some state control.
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or

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Photo of medical supplies by flickr user trp0, used via a Creative Commons license.
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