Perry lashes out at Affordable Care Act as other GOP governors stay silent

Rick Perry - Traci Lee - 10/02/2013
Texas Gov. Rick Perry addresses attendees during the Americans for Prosperity Foundation's Defending the American Dream Summit in Orlando, Fla., Friday, Aug....

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has had his hands full lately when it comes to the health care choices for his state's millions of residents—whether it's taking back his wife's comments about abortion as a right, or predicting an "economic disaster" if the Affordable Care Act is not repealed.

But now Perry has a new accusation for the president's health care law: felony.

On Tuesday at a campaign appearance for New Jersey Senate candidate Steve Lonegan, Perry called the Affordable Care Act implementation a "criminal act," and accused the president of burdening Americans with a law they did not want.

"If this health care law is forced upon this country, the young men and women in this audience are the ones who are really going to pay the price," Perry said to a crowd gathered outside a local diner.

Perry has long been a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act, as well as actively involved in controlling health care policies in Texas—from signing the country's most restrictive abortion legislation to reducing funding for women's health care.

Texas currently has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the nation, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, along with the highest rate of uninsured women in the nation.

Perry's statement puts him side-by-side with several red-state governors who refuse to participate in the Medicaid expansion, though none have been as vocal as the soon-to-be retired governor. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose state ranks as one of the least healthiest in the nation, has been silent since enrollment opened, as has Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who recently ordered health departments in his state to refuse help from federal navigators trained to assist people with enrolling. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, another red-state leader who's refused to participate in the Medicaid expansion, has also been quiet on the issue since enrollment opened.

The three Republicans have been strong opponents of the Affordable Care Act since it was signed into law in 2010.

But not every Republican governor has refused to participate in the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion plan. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, whose state is one of the top 10 states with the highest uninsured population in the nation, said earlier this year that Arizona would participate in the Medicaid expansion plan, and is currently facing a lawsuit from 36 Republican legislators over her decision.

Though Brewer is not entirely on board with every provision of the Affordable Care Act, she refused to place blame on either party for the resulting federal shutdown this week over funding the law. "I don't believe [delaying implementation is] going to happen. I think that it's pretty much carved in stone, the direction of where Obama health care is going," she said, adding that it isn't worth shutting down the government to attempt a delay in the individual mandate.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett have all joined Brewer in accepting the Medicaid expansion plans for their states, though the three Republican governors have been silent on the issue since enrollment opened on Tuesday.