The governor of Florida said at a press conference yesterday that he couldn’t turn down the money in good conscience when it would expand Medicaid coverage to more than a million Floridians. Scott, whose state led the lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, is the latest of seven republican governors who have caved into accepting the Medicaid expansion in their states.
So, where does that leave Perry?
“I think Gov. Perry will have a lot of pressure.”
Professor Bob Stein is a public policy expert at Rice University.
“Whether he does it or not remains to be seen. I think it’ll give you some indication of what his intentions are for running for reelection.”
He says accepting the federal money for the expansion could hurt Perry’s chances in a primary election. But at the same time, he faces pressure not only from social justice groups like the Texas Organizing Project but from corporations.
“…many of whom might be happy to help Rick Perry in his life after being governor and that means helping him out on corporate boards if he were to pass this.”
Stein says the funds from the federal government would be beneficial for the Texas economy and in particular the medical industry.
John Davidson, health care policy analyst at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin, says he hopes Perry and other republican governors will not follow Scott’s example.
“It’s unfortunate that Gov. Scott caved in to federal pressure to expand Medicaid and I think it’s more important than ever for Gov. Perry and the other Republican governors who have so far rejected Medicaid expansion to stand firm.”
Davidson says expanding Medicaid would destabilize the program in the long run.
What’s clear is that at this point Perry has no intention of changing his position. In a statement, Perry’s spokeswoman Allison Castle says it would be irresponsible to dump more taxpayer dollars into a broken system. While Perry has the ultimate veto power, it is up to the state Legislature to vote on the Medicaid expansion.