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Rick Perry: Texas Won't Implement Obamacare

Texas Governor Rick Perry said Monday that Texas will not implement key portions of President Obama's healthcare legislation, despite the Supreme Court's recent ruling upholding the constitutionality of the law.

Perry sent a letter Monday morning to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, saying he has "no intention" of either implementing a state health insurance exchange or expanding Medicaid, two provisions that are incorporated into the federal law.

"If anyone had any doubt, we wanted to put it clearly to bed that Texas wasn't going to be a part of expanding socializing of our medicine," he said in an exclusive interview with Fox News. "We're not going to participate in any exchanges, we're not going to expand Medicaid - we're just not going to be a part of, again, socializing healthcare in the state of Texas."

If Texas, or any other state, refuses to implement the health insurance exchanges, the federal government does have the power to implement the exchanges itself. But Perry criticized the idea of expanding what he says is a faulty program that will ultimately bankrupt states.

"Medicaid is a failed a program. To expand this program is not unlike adding a thousand people to the Titanic. You're going to further drive this country into debt," Perry said. "You don't expand a program that is not working already."

Perry said that the funding would be better spent allowing states to provide their own coverage.

"If the federal government is serious about working with the states and finding solutions to the healthcare needs, what they would do is block grant those dollars back to the states," he said. "I can assure you that Texas and other states would find more effective, efficient ways to deliver healthcare to their citizens and do it in a way that preserves those individuals freedom."

"I'm always intrigued with the concept that there's free money out there, and that we can pour more money into a program that has already failed, and somehow or other we're going to have a different result than what we had the first time," he added.

Despite maintaining a fairly strong economy throughout the recession, Texas has a high number of residents without health insurance - approximately one in four Texans are uninsured. Perry, however, disputed that Texas would suffer without the federally-mandated exchanges.

"The idea that this federal government, which doesn't like Texas to begin with - to pick and choose and come up with some data that says somehow Texas has the worst healthcare system in the world is just fake and false on its face," he said. "Every Texan has healthcare in this state, from the standpoint of being able to have access to healthcare - every Texas has that. How we pay for it, and how we deliver it, should be our decision - not some bureaucrat in Washington D.C. that may have never been to Texas a day in their life."

Perry said the problem with the Medicaid exchanges is that states won't have the ability to tailor coverage to fit their specific needs.

"If the private insurance sector wants to set up these types of ability to trade across lines and what have you - I think they ought to have the ability to do that," he said. "But not this one-size-fits-all, federally-mandated, Washington-centric concept that the Obama administration, through Obamacare, is trying to force upon us."

The former presidential candidate also had some choice words for congressional leaders who be believes didn't do enough to prevent President Obama's legislation from passing.

"I'm still stunned that there weren't enough courageous men and women in the United States Congress to stand up and say, this is bad public policy," he said. "It is going to bankrupt many states, including the state of Texas, if this thing gets put into place the way that they envisioned it to begin with. That's not courage, in my opinion."

 

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