Health Care Fight Isn't Over
President Obama's signature on Congress's disastrous health care plan was a disappointment to everyone who values limited government, bipartisanship and – most of all – quality and affordable health care.
In forcing through this bill, Democrats from Speaker Nancy Pelosi on down have substituted their own desires and political goals for the good judgment and common sense of the people they represent. Indeed, the more the American people learned about these socialist proposals, the more they hated them.
We've known for a while that the Obama administration and Congressional leaders might eventually twist enough arms, broker enough backroom deals and bend enough procedural rules to pass this bill. Still, it's surprising that it's come to this, with the federal government unconstitutionally mandating the purchase of a specific product, and threatening those who don't abide with government fines. Further, never before has there been such a dramatic expansion of the ability of the federal government to require citizens to fund or subsidize abortions. This bill represents a federal overreach unprecedented in scope, reaching into the lives of each and every person in America today, with the staggering costs handed down to generations yet unborn.
The fight, however, is far from over.
We can't afford to accept this situation, and I mean that literally. As Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Speaker Joe Straus and I wrote in a letter to the Texas delegation, The Texas Health and Human Services Commission estimates this bill will double the number of Medicaid recipients in the Lone Star State. The burden this will place on Texas taxpayers can be as much as $26 billion over the next 10 years. Despite that increased cost to our taxpayers, there will be no improvement to either the cost of health care or its quality.
So I am working with other state officials – including Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, Speaker Straus and Attorney General Greg Abbott – as we explore our various options to protect Texans from this disastrous bill. General Abbott's lawsuit, joining with numerous other states, is the next logical step in the battle. Beyond that, I am working with other governors, and other leaders in various states, to explore all our options to defend taxpayers from this aggressive federal overreach. I will also work with members of the Texas Senate and House to see what can be done legislatively.
Again, it's vital we fight this on every front available to us, because mandates are both painful to rank-and-file Texans and also extremely ineffective. Don't ask me, ask Massachusetts. In the Bay State, where a mandate is already a fact of life, premiums are 40 percent more expensive than elsewhere in the country, and it's becoming harder and harder to find a doctor to see even if you are covered.
In Hawaii, which passed mandates of its own 35 years ago, the percentage of uninsured remains about the same as it was in 1974, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Mandates flat-out don't work.
It's important that we send the message that opposition to this bill is not generated by angry mobs, as the media portrayals might suggest, but instead by everyday people legitimately concerned to see the federal government so quickly expanding its control over all of our lives. In fact, more than 1,000 e-mails flooded into my office over the weekend prior to this bill's passage, almost exclusively against it.
Here in Texas, we also face the specter of cap-and-trade legislation and EPA regulation that will cripple our state's energy sector and cause the price of most goods and services to skyrocket for no environmental benefit. Texas had led the charge against this federal overreach, as well, and 16 other states have joined us in that effort. We've also refused to be bribed into joining ongoing efforts to establish a federal educational standard that will let Washington decide what your children learn, instead of leaving those decisions up to our state and communities.
Truth is, it's getting harder to find areas of life the Obama Administration doesn't want to place under federal control, all while the mountain of escalating debt they're generating grows to blot out our future.
Texas will continue to push back against Washington's big government intrusion into individual liberty, and continue to champion the rights of states to enact measures that best protect our citizens, families, employers and communities.
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