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TribBlog: Perry Rejects New Pool for High-Risk Patients

Texas will not commit to creating temporary health care pools for high-risk patients.

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Gov. Rick Perry notified U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today that Texas won't commit to creating a new temporary health care pool for high-risk patients.

Today was the last day Sebelius had given state governments to decide how they plan to act on the high-risk pools, which allow people with pre-existing conditions to obtain health insurance. Texas, like several other states, already has a pool for high-risk patients. It had the option of expanding that pool or running a temporary parallel program.

In a statement, Perry expressed concern that the federal government had not insured that states would not be left with significant costs from creating the high-risk pools.

"I do not believe the aggressive implementation and the lack of assurances on financial solvency of the program are in the best interest of Texas taxpayers, families, patients or health care providers," Perry said in a statement.

Sebelius has called Perry's estimates for implementing health care reform in Texas "wildly high." Texas Republican leaders, including Perry, have said health care reforms could cost the state $24 billion over 10 years.

High-risk pools are supposed to serve patients who have difficulty finding insurance before federal health care exchanges are created in 2012.

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