Perry signs bill allowing Texas healthcare "compact"

AUSTIN Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:44pm EDT

Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana June 18, 2011. REUTERS/Lee Celano

Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana June 18, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Lee Celano

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AUSTIN (Reuters) - Governor Rick Perry signed into law on Monday a Republican-backed measure that would eventually allow Texas to enter into a "health care compact" with other states to seek flexibility in operating Medicaid and Medicare.

Perry, who is considering a run for president, said taking that step is "a significant way for us to minimize the effects of the coming catastrophe that will accompany the full implementation of Obamacare if that is not stopped first," Perry said.

Oklahoma and Georgia have passed a similar measure, aiming to turn Medicaid and Medicare dollars into block grants.

The compacts idea is a challenge to the Obama-backed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which Republicans say is too costly for states.

The compact proposal is one portion of the Texas omnibus healthcare bill ceremoniously signed into law on Monday.

Legislation that passes both the House and the Senate in Texas does not have to be signed by the governor to become law, but Perry lends his name to major issues as a way to drum up publicity for the accomplishments of the legislature.

The comprehensive bill seeks to save Medicaid dollars by expanding managed care, requiring co-payments for non-emergency visits to emergency rooms and reducing payments to providers in cases of preventable medical errors.

The Legislative Budget Board estimates that the measure could save nearly $468 million over two years.

"It ensures that we live up to our responsibility to those who depend on state services and to those who support these programs with their hard earned tax dollars," said Republican state senator Jane Nelson.

The bill also stipulates that no tax money can go to pay for abortions, a ban which is already in current state law.

Perry has long been a critic of the federal government, a theme that has seen more of the spotlight since he indicated he could jump into the Republican presidential primaries.

On Monday, surrounded by local and national reporters, Perry was asked about comments he made to the Des Moines Register on Sunday that he felt as though he were being "called" to run. He declined to repeat the comments, quipping that the term "called" could be applied to anything - including his mother calling him for dinner.

Perry also distanced himself from publicity surrounding the American Family Association, who are the sponsors of a prayer rally he's promoting in Houston on August 6.

The group has been called a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-gay stances, and some other religious groups or personalities who have signed on to join the rally have been criticized what some are calling extreme views, including that Oprah Winfrey will host the coming of the anti-Christ.

Perry said he won't fault anyone for supporting him, and that he won't tell anyone what to say - or what not to say - at the prayer rally. But he stopped short of supporting their comments.

"I'm sure that in elections in the past there have been some groups that have endorsed me publicly and that I appreciated their endorsement, but their endorsement of me doesn't mean I endorse what they believe in or what they say," he said.

(Additional reporting by Corrie MacLaggan. Editing by Peter Bohan)

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Comments (3)
Zarrakan wrote:
Artificial Scarcity occurs when the supply of X is controlled to make it scarce on purpose when the reality is that the supply of X is virtually unlimited. This is usually done to make X worth more than it really is, and thus increase profits for those who are the purveyors of X.

The easiest example of this is food. Every year millions of tons of food end up in landfills because the stores that bought it were not able to sell it. They rather throw it away to keep food scarce/expensive than give the food to those who need it for free. By doing so they create an artificial scarcity of food.

The largest example of artificial scarcity is the supply of money. Money is nothing more than metal/paper with fancy pictures on it, and has no intrinsic value accept what we give it. If we are experiencing financial problems we should either print more, or throw the entire concept of money in the garbage.

How morally bereft do you have to be to openly advocate the needless suffering/deaths of millions of people over the artificial scarcity of metal/paper with fancy pictures on it?

Jul 18, 2011 10:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Texan1836 wrote:
The stupid bill is just going to increase costs, ignorance is either bliss, or its designed to be that way for their corporate masters, only a fool would not realize that its the same companies across state lines, they will just play catch with policy holders.

This is what will happen, BCBS of Oklahoma or Louisiana or whatever, will be lower then Texas, you cross state lines, next year its more expensive, so you go back to where you were. Then the following year its more expensive again, so you move again, each year they get you to bounce back and for, all the while raising the prices higher, yet making you think you are getting insurance cheaper.

Jul 18, 2011 11:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
dogmeat366 wrote:
@zarrakan
They don’t mindlessly print more money because the more that is printed, the less it’s valued. The issuing country doesn’t determine the value of their currency. Currency is tied to commodities (typically gold) that each country has. Printing more money devalues it on a global scale and causes inflation. If I order materials or textiles from overseas, I’ll be able to buy less and less because the american dollar would be worth less to whatever country i’m buying from. That’s why you see pictures of some African countries where people are holding up a million dollar bill, because they’re currency has been devalued to a point where a million bucks in their currency doesn’t buy you jack crap. If you pay attention to global currency exchanges you’ll notice that it constantly fluctuates. Printing more money won’t fix anything, it would only worsen the situation for every single American. It’s unfortunate that people suffer but if the state can’t afford it, they can’t afford it. Simple as that.

Jul 18, 2011 11:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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