Texas has more residents without access to basic medical care than any other state in the country -- by a fairly significant margin. Gov. Rick Perry (R), for reasons that defy comprehension, is eager to keep it that way.
After writing a letter to the Obama administration declaring his intention to ignore the Affordable Care Act, the right-wing governor went on Fox News to explain, "If anyone had any doubt, we wanted to put it clearly to bed that Texas wasn't going to be a part of expanding socializing of our medicine. So we're not going to participate in any exchanges. We're not going to expand Medicaid."
On the exchange, Perry may not understand the policy details, but by refusing to create a marketplace where private insurers can compete for customers' business, he's simply inviting more federal control over Texas' health care system. Why the governor wants Washington to set up Texas' exchange for Texans remains unclear. For that matter, the fact that Perry thinks competition between private insurers is tantamount to "socializing" suggests someone might want to buy the poor guy a dictionary.
But it's the Medicaid decision that arguably matters most. Again, it's not at all clear if Perry understands the policy consequences of his posturing, but the Texas governor is effectively announcing that Texas hospitals will lose nearly $1 billion in funding for one reason: Perry wants fewer poor people in his state to be able to see a doctor.
Perry's "plan," in other words, is to make Texas hospitals and struggling Texas families suffer because he has an ideological axe to grind and may want to run for president again in 2016.
This is just madness.