The Big Conversation:
Already a known foe of federal health care reform, Gov. Rick Perry doesn't have high hopes for the law's success nationwide, either.
In an interview with Forbes magazine, Perry said he thought health care reform may fail, in part because of the federally mandated state-based online marketplaces — dubbed "insurance exchanges" — in which consumers will be able to shop for health coverage.
"I'm not sure Obamacare is going to be successful," Perry said. "And one of the reasons I’m not sure it’s going to be successful is because the exchanges are not going to work. And the exchanges are not going to work because states are wise enough not to go into a relationship when you don’t know what the rules are. You don’t know what the cost is going to be."
Perry, along with many Republican governors across the country, has long opposed the establishment of a state exchange in Texas. The federal government says it will implement a one-size-fits-all plan for states that don't set up their own exchanges.
The Obama administration has given states until Friday to decide whether they'll run their own exchanges, set up a federal-state partnership or accept the federal government's program.
"Obamacare may fail because they don’t have the expertise nor the money," Perry said of the federal government. "And they’re trying to push this off on the states. And I think wise governors and wise legislatures will say, 'No, thank you.'"
As for a course of action for those governors, Perry said Congress would be wise to listen to states requesting more leeway in dealing with the new law.
"Obamacare is, in fact, now the law of the land," he said. "But that’s not to say that we can’t tweak that piece of legislation as we go forward. And we’re going to find out that there are parts of it that don’t work. There are going to be parts of it that do work. And so the most important thing, I would suggest, that Congress can do is to be open-minded about."
- House Speaker Joe Straus on Friday said he would work to restore $2 billion in public education funding to Texas schools next year. He told The Associated Press that he was committed to finding money to finance enrollment growth, though he didn't say whether lawmakers would be able to reverse the $5.4 million in cuts made during the 2011 session. "Growing economy, growing revenues, growing population," Straus said. "There's an ability to keep up now, but how far we can go in restoring certain decisions that we made last time remains to be seen."
- Sunday marked the beginning of the biennial political contribution blackout for state lawmakers and officials in Texas, a no-fundraising period meant to deter vote buying (or the appearance of it, at least). In his latest column, the Tribune's Ross Ramsey looks at why the blackout period was instated and what it's done for Texas politics.
- The U.S. Supreme Court's announcement on Friday that it would rule next summer on two major gay rights cases — one with the power, potentially, to legalize gay marriage nationwide — drew little notice from Texas officials but strong reactions from activists in the state. "I hope and expect that the justices will be on the right side of history and will confirm that marriage … should not be denied to same-sex couples," said Chuck Smith, executive director of the gay-rights group Equality Texas, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Jonathan Saenz, president of the conservative group Texas Values, said, "If the court strikes down the only definition of marriage, it will be the most obvious and egregious example of judicial activism that we have ever seen since Roe v. Wade."
"Things change very rapidly, and two years could be either tomorrow or an eternity away. You don’t know what might happen. If the opportunity shows itself, damn right I will." — U.S. Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco, who was recently defeated for re-election, on whether he'll run for Congress again in the future
- Redistricting fight puts Doggett in awkward situation, Austin American-Statesman
- How a City in Decline Sold Itself to Its Own Residents, The Atlantic
- Critics wary of Catholic teaching hospital for new UT medical school, Austin American-Statesman
- Perry Helps Key Advisers Take a Big Next Step, The Texas Tribune