Friday, July 24, 2009

Gov. Perry Threatens 10th Amendment Again To Reject Health Care Reform

Gov. Perry, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Senator John Cornyn, Congressman Sam Johnson and every Republican elected official in Texas made headlines for months pronouncing that President Obama’s economic stimulus plan was unneeded and unwelcome in Texas.

Gov. Perry, the top Republican in Texas, proclaimed that federal money from Washington is so onerous to "all" Texans that we may rise up in revolt and secede from the United States by invoking the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) is threatening 10th Amendment action over health insurance reform! [Star-Telegram] On a local radio show Thursday, Gov. Perry attacked Pres. Obama’s health care reform plan as “disastrous.” Perry again invoked the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reject 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 10th Amendment of the Constitution; A standard southern "states’ rights" claim that is on shaky legal ground. Texas Gov. Rick Perry so incited an anti-tax (and largely anti-Obama) "tea party" in April with his anti-Washington and states' rights rhetoric that the audience began to shout, "Secede!" At an Austin City Hall tea party in April Perry said,

"At some point Texans might get so fed up they would want to secede from the union. There's a lot of different scenarios. ...if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that..."
Then, Gov. Rick Perry, in an op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman, claims he never advocated or supported the idea or possibility of secession at tea part anti-tax rallies in April. Read Perry's op-ed at the Austin American-Statesman.
Perry’s “state sovereignty” cries smack more of politics than principled conviction. In March, Gov. Perry 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.
An estimated 5,550 Texans are losing their health coverage each week, Families USA says in another report out in July 2009. “Rising like a deadly tide, escalating health care costs will have caused 866,580 Texans to lose their health coverage between January 2008 and December 2010,” the organization says.
“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.”

Rachel Maddow called out Gov. Perry for his states’ rights comments on health care.

Maddow, "Governor Rick, you’ve been governor for nine years. How are you doing finding a solution for Texas’ health care problem, Governor? You’ve got the most expensive health care markets in the country, and the least number of people insured. And you’re worried the federal government is going to screw up the good thing you’ve got going on in Texas? You need to protect Texas’ health care system that you’re doing such an awesome job with, from people you think might really screw it up? Let the states find their own solution? You’ve had nine years, Governor. You’re the worst in the country. How are you doing with that?"

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