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The Brief: July 9, 2012

Gov. Rick Perry today said no thanks on behalf of Texas to two major parts of federal health care reform.

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The Big Conversation:

Gov. Rick Perry today said no thanks on behalf of Texas to two major parts of federal health care reform.

As the Tribune's Emily Ramshaw reports this morning, Perry has announced that Texas will neither expand its Medicaid rolls nor establish a state health insurance exchange.

"If anyone was in doubt, we in Texas have no intention to implement so-called state exchanges or to expand Medicaid under Obamacare," Perry said in a statement. "I will not be party to socializing healthcare and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government."

Perry today will send a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announcing his opposition to the two provisions.

The move makes Texas the largest state so far whose governor has rejected the Medicaid expansion. In its landmark health care ruling last month, the U.S. Supreme Court said the federal government may expand Medicaid as it sees fit, but that it may not penalize states if they choose not to accept the funding to do so. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said last week that his state would not expand its Medicaid rolls, and other Republican governors, like Terry Branstad of Iowa, have also expressed strong opposition to the expansion.

As for the insurance exchange, in which consumers would be able to compare and purchase coverage, the state has something of an out: The federal government will impose its own one-size-fits-all system in Texas and other states that fail to devise their own exchanges.

"I stand proudly with the growing chorus of governors who reject the Obamacare power grab," Perry said in his statement. "Neither a 'state' exchange nor the expansion of Medicaid under this program would result in better 'patient protection' or in more 'affordable care.' They would only make Texas a mere appendage of the federal government when it comes to health care."

Perry will appear on Fox News at 10:30 a.m. to address his decision.

Culled:

  • Today, the state's contentious voter ID law finally gets its day in court. A three-judge panel in Washington, D.C., will hear arguments from the state and the Justice Department over whether Texas should be barred from implementing the law. If the case ultimately reaches the Supreme Court, as observers have predicted, the implications for several states that have passed similar laws in recent years could be far-reaching, as the Austin American-Statesman notes. The Statesman also has a look at what the legal fight means for those without IDs.
  • In a move seemingly prompted by U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz's attacks on opponent David Dewhurst's record presiding over the state Senate, the Senate Republican Caucus on Sunday released a letter defending Dewhurst and the upper chamber's work. "In the U.S. Senate primary race, statements have been made that are untrue regarding the records of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, the Republican Texas Senators, as well as Governor Rick Perry," the document reads. "This letter is to set the record straight." The letter touts the Senate's work on bills outlawing "sanctuary cities," cutting spending and prohibiting intrusive airport security pat-downs.
  • A new study by the Texas Medical Association shows a huge drop in the number of Texas doctors now willing to accept Medicaid. As The Associated Press reports, only 31 percent of doctors now accept new Medicaid patients, down from 42 percent in 2010 and 67 percent in 2000.

"Well, number one, I’m worried all of us are on it."Ted Cruz, at a U.S. Senate candidate forum Saturday, on whether he thought it was appropriate for President Barack Obama to have a "kill list"

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