On Tuesday, Politico reported that pigs flew — or at least its political equivalent — by publishing an article on negotiations between Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) and the Obama administration to secure $100 million in ObamaCare funding for Texas.
Hold the phone. Wasn’t Rick Perry one of the vociferous republicans who bashed ObamaCare? (In case you can’t answer that, yes he was.)
In December 2011, as Perry contemplated a presidential bid, he used the narrative of an elderly cancer patient as an anti-ObamaCare ploy in speeches and debates. Perry has repeatedly insisted that he will not enact ObamaCare reforms. He stated, "In Texas, we’ve been fighting Obamacare from the beginning, refusing to expand a broken Medicaid system and declining to set up a state health insurance exchange."
That certain formerly anti-ObamaCare republicans are implementing aspects of the law to provide care to millions of people within their states is a positive, productive move. Ultimately, this will isolate the extremist republicans who refuse to adopt any part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
It is not exactly a secret that the political maneuvering of candidates often involves backpedaling, changing positions, revising, and realigning on the playing field. Texas is among a number of other states to quietly accept ObamaCare funding. Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Maine and others are participating in certain aspects of the law as a way to increase their Medicaid funds, says a Texas-based advocate.
While the $100 million Perry will accept through the ACA will benefit those with physical and mental disabilities, the hypocrisy of the move is causing some Democrats and activists to bristle. “It’s simply a shame that Perry is willing to accept $100 million in Affordable Care Act dollars that would help some … but to at the same time reject $100 billion in federal funds turns his back on 1.5 million people” who would be aided by the ACA, said Ginny Goldman, director of the Texas organizing project.
Given that 48.61 million Americans are without health insurance in a nation spending $8,233 per person on health care, it is political pettiness to spread misinformation and denounce ObamaCare as a “monstrosity” to the public one minute, and then accept $100 million in funding provided by the law the next.
Rick Perry should take the money. He should also not be shy about advising other states — and other republicans — to reap the benefits of this reform. Rather than yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre, he should try helping people find the exits. This will save a lot more lives.