Rick Perry Didn’t Save Texas From Obamacare

Rick PerryRick Perry is running for president. Personally, if I had had a “whoops” moment, I would go hide out on my “farm” for the rest of my life and research ways to induce retroactive amnesia. But I don’t think that Perry is smart enough for that. He probably thinks that anything is possible because Richard Nixon went on to become president after saying, “You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more.” (As I’ve discussed in the past, that was actually just an awkward Nixon joke and actually quite charming.) But clueless Rick is out making the nation know that he can do for America what he did to Texas. And so this week, he was in New Hampshire making his case. The New Hampshire Journal reported, Perry: In ’16, Americans Will Want “Someone Who Has Been Tested.”

Martin Longman noted one very interesting part of the article:

Perry proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which he called “another example of one-size-fits-all coming out of Washington, DC.”

I love that line. It is Republican boilerplate. But it is also meaningless. There are two important aspects of this. First, how is Obamacare one-size-fits-all? One might say that with regard to a single payer system. But Obamacare simply makes the current insurance based system more affordable. People who couldn’t afford healthcare on the open market are now helped. And everyone is helped in a different way. Now personally, I’m not thrilled with Obamacare because in one way it is one-size-fits-all: it depends upon insurance companies. And they don’t add any value to the healthcare that the whole system is meant to provide. They are a relic of times long gone. But that’s not Perry’s problem. Perry’s problem is that Obamacare is a government program and, in his mind, that means it is one-size-fits-all.

The second aspect of this is simply that if a federal government program is by definition one-size-fits-all, so what? Social Security is one-size-fits-all and people love it. Medicare is far more one-size-fits-all than Obamacare, and people are very happy with it. Perry’s claim that Obamacare is a one-size-fits-all program is the usual Republican rhetoric. All he’s actually saying is that Obamacare is doody pants — he doesn’t like it but has no real reason why that’s the case.

Perry also said, “Texas has been criticized for having a large number of uninsured, but that’s what Texans wanted.” But that’s not really true. Most of those uninsured would very much like to have insurance. It is just that the conservative Texas government is against it. In fact, Texas passed a law making it hard to become a “navigator”: a person who helps people use the healthcare exchange. And 20% of the people in Texas are uninsured — the highest rate in the nation. Meanwhile, roughly 40% the Texas residents have a favorable opinion of Obamacare — which is roughly what it is nation wide.

Perry continued, “They did not want a large government program forcing everyone to purchase insurance.” But the truth is that regardless of what Texas wanted, they still have a large government program forcing them to purchase insurance. What the spiteful Texas legislators and smiling, bespectacled governor did was make it harder for Texans to get the benefits of the program — including stopping the working poor from getting healthcare at all. These are, in addition, programs that Texas has already paid for. So this isn’t about “freedom”; it is about good government. And Rick Perry and his pals have decided to take a noble stand for bad government.

Let me clarify what Rick Perry has accomplished. There is a large government program called Obamacare. The people of Texas pay for that program. In addition, the people of Texas are required to purchase health insurance or they are penalized by the government. To help the people of Texas comply with this new law, the federal government is giving money and support to the state. Rick Perry has made it hard for the people to get that support. He has also refused to allow many of the people who live in Texas to get free healthcare paid for by the government.

Basically, Obamacare can be cut in two: the bad parts and the good parts. Perry hasn’t been able to do anything at all to shield Texas from the bad parts of Obamacare. But he has done a great deal to limit the good parts of Obamacare. In other words, he has managed Obamacare in the worst possible way for the residents of Texas. And now he is going around the nation claiming that his terrible policies are something to be proud of. And Perry is not alone. Republicans the nation over have accomplished nothing in their fight against Obamacare except harming their own constituencies. And no one has really noticed it.

I would like to see this brought up in a debate. “You say you have fought against Obamacare, but the only thing you’ve done is stop your people from getting benefits they’ve paid for. All the taxes and requirements still apply to Texans. How does this make Texas a freer place?” I wonder what Perry would answer, “Whoops”?

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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