Republican Governor Rick Perry, like quite a few other Republican governors, has refused to allow the Medicaid expansion available to states under the Affordable Care Act, presumably because it came from that black guy in the White House. However, this might impact the Republican hierarchy in Texas in a more negative way than expected. Texas is unique among other large-population states in how rapid the demographics are changing. Because the effects of refusing the Medicaid expansion will disproportionately hurt Hispanics, the decision to refuse it could help shift the state even more quickly to being Democratic.
Texas is one of the worst states for health insurance in the nation, with an astonishing 25 percent of Texans being uninsured. Under the Medicaid expansion, the federal government will absorb the extra Medicaid costs for providing healthcare to low-income families, costing the state very little. However, several red states, Texas among them, have refused the expansion anyway.
In a time when Republicans are increasingly trying to market their propaganda to Hispanic demographics, this move could help erase key future support in a key Republican state. The decision to refuse the expansion could, in the end, do more damage to the Republican Party than Rick Perry probably has the cognitive ability to understand. He’s been quite outspoken about the expansion, though, as reported by National Journal:
Yet Gov. Rick Perry, back from his stumbles in the 2012 GOP presidential race, has insisted that Texas will not accept the federal money provided by President Obama’s health care law to expand Medicaid coverage. As Republican governors from Arizona to New Jersey have joined the program, Perry has amplified his opposition. In a bristling speech to conservatives last week, he said governors who accepted the money had “folded in the face of federal bribery.”
They also remind us of what happened the last time Republicans enacted legislation that targeted Hispanics either directly or indirectly:
In 1994, California Republican Gov. Pete Wilson mobilized his base by promoting Proposition 187, a ballot initiative to deny services to illegal immigrants. He won reelection that year—and then lost the war as Hispanics stampeded from the GOP and helped turn the state lastingly Democratic. Texas Republicans wouldn’t be threatened as quickly, but they may someday judge their impending decision on expanding Medicaid as a similar turning point.
Please, Governor. Keep dragging your party down into irrelevancy.
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