Texas-Sized Disgrace

If you spend enough time observing politics, things happen that are 100% predictable but still maddening. That’s how I feel about Rick Perry’s characteristically blustery announcement today that Texas wasn’t going to take none o’ that socialistic Medicaid expansion money–or implement health care exchanges–because he didn’t want to cooperate in the destruction of “state sovereignty.”

And so the chief executive of a state with 6.1 million uninsured people–and by far the highest rate of uninsured, about a third of the population–says he’s not willing to lift a finger (and that’s about all he would have to contribute, given the huge federal funds bonanza the Medicaid expansion would bring to Texas) to help them. This is the governor, moreover, who’s never had any problem coming up with money to offer subsidies to wealthy “job creators.”

I don’t know which explanation is worse for Perry’s efforts to punish millions of the neediest of his own people: political opportunism, or just plain meanness. But for today, he can pride himself on being the biggest SOB in America. Texas Democrats really need to devote themselves to exposing the amazing fiscal stupidity of Perry’s posture, as they began to do today:

“No person with a speck of intelligence would turn down billions in federal dollars that would be a boon to our economy and help Texans,” [Democratic Party] spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña said in a statement. “…Rick Perry’s Texas solution is to let Texans stay ill and uninsured. That is not a health care plan.”

No, it’s just a Texas-sized disgrace.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.