Rick Perry on Health Care
Republican Governor (TX)
Romney vs. Perry on Domestic Issues
PERRY: [Romney] has been for the individual mandate. I'm stunned, Mitt, that you said you wished you could've talked to Obama and said "You're going down the wrong path," because that is exactly the path that you've taken in Massachusetts. [One] study said there've been over $8 billion of additional cost. I wish you could have had the conversation with the people of Massachusetts a long time before that phone call, because the fact of the matter is, you're for individual mandate. And you can talk about "I'm going to repeal ObamaCare." But the record is very clear. You were for individual mandates. And that is the problem. And the question is then, "Who can look Obama in the eye, and say, 'ObamaCare is an abomination for this country,'?" And I'm going to do that. And I can take that fight to him and win that fight.
PERRY: In the state of Texas, from the standpoint of what we've done to make access of health care better, we passed the most sweeping tort reform in the nation in 2003. We also passed Healthy Texas, which expands the private sector insurance, and we've driven down the cost of insurance by 30%. But the real issue for us is Medicaid and how to get the flexibility on Medicaid so that the innovators can occur in the states. I can promise you whether it's Governor Jindal or myself or Susana Martinez over in New Mexico, that's where you'll find the real innovation in health care. The way to deliver health care more efficiently, more effectively is to block grant those dollars back to the state and keep this federal government that has this one-size-fits-all mentality from driving the thought process that we've seen that's destroyed health care in this country today.
A: They haven't anywhere near given the states [enough flexibility]. I think what you should see is the block granting, not having to go to Washington, D.C. and ask them "Mother, may I?" every time you come up with a concept or an idea. Block granting back to the states, I'll guarantee you the governors and their innovators in their states will come up with ways to better deliver health care more efficiently, more effectively, more cost-efficiently. And that's what this country's looking for, is a president who understands that we have these 50 laboratories of innovation. Free up these states from Washington, D.C.'s one-size-fits-all.
PERRY: I got lobbied on this issue. I got lobbied by a 31-year-old young lady who had stage 4 cervical cancer. I readily admitted we should have had an opt-in, in this program. But, I don't know what part of opt-out most parents don't get. And the fact is, I erred on the side of life and I will always err on the side of life as a governor as the president of the United States.
PERRY: Well, I disagree with your analysis there because we've had a request in for the federal government so that we could have a Medicaid waiver for years. And the federal government has stopped us from having that Medicaid waiver. Allowing Texas a waiver lets each state decide how they're going to deliver that health care. Not one size fits all. And the fact is, people continue to move to the state of Texas. And our health care is part of that. Our education is part of that. And we are proud of what we put together in the state of Texas.
PERRY: No. It's a $17 trillion hole that we have in our budget we've got to deal with. And I think that's the issue of, how do you find the savings and still deliver the services? For instance, in Texas, we combined a substantial amount of our health and human services from 10 down to five agencies. We put an Office of Inspector General into place, and we saved over $5.3 billion.
Q: But if you were president, you wouldn't repeal prescription drug benefits for seniors under Medicare?
PERRY: That's what I said when I started the conversation.
Q: [to Romney] How about you?
ROMNEY: I wouldn't repeal it. I'd reform Medicare and reform Medicaid and reform Social Security to get them on a sustainable basis, not for current retirees, but for those in their 20s and 30s and early 50s.
PERRY: It was. And indeed, if I had it to do over again, I would have done it differently. I would have gone to the legislature, worked with them. But what was driving me was, obviously, making a difference about young people's lives. Cervical cancer is a horrible way to die. And I happen to think that what we were trying to do was to clearly send a message that we're going to give moms and dads the opportunity to make that decision with parental opt-out. Parental rights are very important in state of Texas. We do it on a long list of vaccines that are made, but on that particular issue, I will tell you that I made a mistake by not going to the legislature first.
Q: [to Perry]: Was what you signed a mandate?
PERRY: No, sir it wasn't. It was very clear. It had an opt-out. And at the end of the day, this was about trying to stop a cancer and giving the parental option to opt out of that. And at the end of the day, you may criticize me about the way that I went about it, but at the end of the day, I am always going to err on the side of life. And that's what this was really all about for me.
BACHMANN: In the midst of this executive order there is a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate.
PERRY: The company was Merck, and it was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them. I raise about $30 million. And if you're saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I'm offended.
Q: [to Perry]: Can a state like Massachusetts go ahead and pass health care reform, including mandates? Is that a good idea, if Massachusetts wants to do it?
PERRY: Well, that's what Gov. Romney wanted to do, so that's fine. But the fact of the matter is, that was the plan that President Obama has said himself was the model for Obamacare. And I think any of us who know that that piece of legislation will draw a line between the doctor/patient relationship, that will cost untold billions of dollars, is not right for this country. And frankly, I don't think it was right for Massachusetts when you look at what it's costing the people of Massachusetts today. But at the end of the day, that was their call. So, from a just purely states get to decide what they want to do, I agree with that. And in the state of Texas, we don't think that's the way we want to go.
PERRY: It was a great opportunity for us as a people to see what will not work, and that is an individual mandate in this country.
Q: [to Romney]: You've said some things about the Massachusetts law worked; other things didn't work as well. On the individual mandate, the government saying that people have to buy health insurance--was that one of the things that worked in Massachusetts?
ROMNEY: One thing I'd do on day one if I'm elected president is direct my secretary of health and human services to put out an executive order granting a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states. It is bad law, it will not work, and I'll get that done on day one. Now, what we faced in our state is different than what other states face. In our state, our plan covered 8% of the people, the uninsured. One thing I know, and that is that what Obama put in place is not going to work. It's massively expensive.
ROMNEY: Our plan covered 8% of the people, the uninsured. ObamaCare is taking over 100% of the people.
Q: [to Perry]: Massachusetts has nearly universal health insurance. It's first in the country. In Texas, about a quarter of the people don't have health insurance. That's 50th out of 50. It's pretty hard to defend dead last.
PERRY: Well, I'll tell you what the people in the state of Texas don't want: They don't want a health car plan like what Gov. Romney put in place in Massachusetts. What they would like to see is the federal government get out of their business. For instance, Medicaid needs to be block-granted back to the states so that innovation will come up with the best ways to deliver health care. I'll promise you, we'll deliver more health care to more people cheaper than what the federal government is mandating today with their strings attached, here's how you do it, one-size-fits-all effort out of Washington, D.C.
PERRY: If we can get the federal government out of our business in the states when it comes to health care, we'll come up with ways to deliver more health care to more people cheaper than what the federa government is mandating today. That's got to stop. And I'll promise you: On day one, as the president, that executive order will be signed and Obamacare will be wiped out as much as it can be.
Q: Why are so many people in Texas uninsured?
PERRY: We would not have that many people uninsured in Texas if you didn't have the federal government. We've had requests in for years to have that type of flexibility where we could have menus, where we could have co-pays, and the federal government refuses t give us that flexibility. We know for a fact that, given that freedom, the states can do a better job of delivering health care. And you'd see substantially more people not just in Texas, but all across the country have access to better health care.
PERRY: I wrote a letter to Hillary and we were hoping that she would be able to come up with something that would not leave out the agriculture men and women--because I was the agriculture commissioner at that particular point in time. We had no idea it was going to be the monstrosity that's known as Hillarycare.
PAUL: Forcing 12-year-old girls to take an inoculation to prevent STDs, this is not good medicine & it's not good social policy.
PERRY: There was an opt-out in that executive order. I hate cancer. We passed a $3 billion cancer initiative to find, over the next 10 years, cures to cancers. Cervical cancer is caused by HPV [human papiloma virus]. We wanted to bring that to the attention of these thousands of young people in our state. We allowed for an opt-out. I don't know what's more strong for parental rights than having that opt-out. There's a long list of diseases that cost our state and cost our country. It was on that list. Now, did we handle it right? Should we have talked to the legislature first before we did it? Probably so. But at the end of the day, I will always err on the side of saving lives.
THE FACTS: She was correct that Perry supported mandatory immunization of girls to reduce future risks of cervical cancer, although the measure was blocked by Texas lawmakers and parents would have had some ability to file a conscientious objection to the requirement. Perry signed an executive order in 2007 directing his state health department to make the human papillomavirus vaccine available to "mandate the age-appropriate vaccination of all female children" before they enter sixth grade. Texas would have been the first state to require the immunizations.
"That's something that we the people need to decide for ourselves," a Tea Party spokesperson said.
I sincerely hope our principled senators, regardless of party, will toss out that trainwreck of a plan or its mandates will cripple our healthcare system and its price tag will bust our budget.
Our Medicaid population and accompanying financial burden are growing as we speak and, in 2014, ObamaCare will cause them to explode. Right now, this Washington-centric approach to healthcare has a whole lot of states on a collision course with bankruptcy.
Instead of oppressive mandates, we need solutions like block grants and the freedom to improve health care delivery with innovation, flexibility and local input. You and I believe, and at least two federal courts have confirmed that it's unconstitutional and wrong for the government to force someone to buy health insurance.
Instead of oppressive mandates, we need solutions like block grants, and the freedom to improve health care delivery, with innovation, flexibility and local input from leaders like Senator Jane Nelson. We most definitely do not need Washington encroaching even further on our individual liberties. I hope you'll support Representative Creighton's legislation stating the simple truth-- upheld by at least two federal courts, that it's unconstitutional & wrong for the government to force someone to buy health insurance. In this and other areas of overreach, we must be united in sending one clear and simple message to Washington: "Enough.
Our ability as Americans to have access to the best health care in the world--and our right to make our own personal health care decisions--literally hangs in the balance as this administration and Democrats on the Hill consolidate power and insert the long tentacles of Washington into every hospital and doctor's office in America. Because the premise of Obamacare is that our health is not our responsibility but the public's.
At its core, Obamacare represents the closest this country has ever come to outright socialism.
Obamacare mandates that Americans must go out and buy government-approved health insurance. I defy anyone to show me the clause in the Constitution that gives Washington the authority to do this
Now, some Republicans seem to be hung up on the notion that we must be "for" something and must indicate so by saying that we will "repeal and replace" the legislation. That is such inside-the-Beltway nonsense and only confuses the issues for voters.
Frivolous lawsuits are down, as are insurance rates for homeowners and doctors. Thanks to medical liability reforms, hospitals are once again able to recruit specialists whose expertise can mean the difference between life and death.
Of the 5.5 million uninsured Texans, 2 million are adults with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level. Most are working Texans whose jobs offer healthcare benefits they can't afford, or no benefits at all.
Today I am proposing a new initiative called "Healthier Texas" that will open the door to more affordable insurance options for two million working Texans. This initiative redirects hundreds of millions of federal dollars spent on uncompensated care for the uninsured to the creation of a funding pool to purchase insurance for working Texans below 200% of the federal poverty level. This solution recognizes the wisdom of expanding the insurance market without a government takeover of your healthcare and without adding one more Texan to the government rolls.
The Governors support efforts designed to enable small employers to join together to participate more effectively in the health insurance market. In fact, Governors have taken the lead in facilitating the development of such partnerships and alliances. However, these partnerships must be carefully structured and regulated by state agencies in order to protect consumers and small businesses from fraud and abuse and underinsurance. NGA opposes attempts to expand federal authority under ERISA. The Governors have identified the prevention of such federal legislation in the 107th Congress as a top legislative priority.
States have the primary responsibility for health insurance regulation. Across the nation, Governors are working to protect consumers and patients and to properly regulate the complicated health insurance industry.
The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.
The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Federal government run health care system"
As Governors, we are writing to you regarding the excessive constraints placed on us by healthcare-related federal mandates. One of our biggest concerns continues to be the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which prevent states from managing their Medicaid programs for their unique Medicaid populations. We ask for your immediate action to remove these MOE requirements so that states are once again granted the flexibility to control their program costs and make necessary budget decisions.
Every Governor, Republican and Democrat, will face unprecedented budget challenges in the coming months. Efforts to regulate state operations impose greater uncertainty on our budgets for oncoming years and create a perfect storm when coupled with the current state of the economy.
Health and education are the primary cost drivers for most state budgets. Medicaid enrollment is up. Revenues are down. States are unable to afford the current Medicaid program, yet our hands are tied by the MOE requirements. The effect of the federal requirements is unconscionable; the federal requirements force Governors to cut other critical state programs, such as education, in order to fund a "one-size-fits-all" approach to Medicaid. Again, we ask you to lift the MOE requirements so that states may make difficult budget decisions in ways that reflect the needs of their residents.
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