(Statesman) – President Barack Obama’s signature on Congress’s disastrous health care plan was a disappointment to everyone who values limited government, bipartisanship and quality and affordable health care.
In forcing the bill through, congressional leaders from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on down substituted their own desires and political goals for the good judgment and common sense of the people they represent. Indeed, the more the American people learned about the socialist proposals, the more they rejected them.
We’ve known for a while that the Obama administration and congressional leaders might eventually twist enough arms, broker enough backroom deals and bend enough procedural rules to pass the bill. Still, it’s surprising that it’s come to this, with the federal government unconstitutionally mandating the purchase of a specific product, and threatening those who don’t abide with government fines. The bill represents a federal overreach unprecedented in scope, reaching into the lives of each and every person in America, with the staggering costs handed down to generations yet unborn.
The fight, however, is far from over.
We can’t afford to accept this situation, and I mean that literally. As Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, House Speaker Joe Straus and I wrote in a letter to the Texas delegation last week, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission estimates that the bill will double the number of Medicaid recipients in the Lone Star state. The burden that would place on Texas taxpayers could be as much as $26 billion over the next 10 years. Despite that increased cost to our taxpayers, there will be no improvement to either the cost of health care or its quality.
So I am working with other state officials — including Dewhurst, Straus and Attorney General Greg Abbott — as we explore our options to protect Texans from that disastrous bill. Abbott’s lawsuit, joining with numerous other states, is the next logical step in the battle. Beyond that, I am working with other governors and leaders in various states to explore all of our options to defend taxpayers from an aggressive federal overreach. I will also work with members of the Texas Senate and House to see what can be done legislatively.
It’s vital we fight this on every front available to us, because mandates are painful to rank-and-file Texans and extremely ineffective. Look at Massachusetts. In the Bay State, where a mandate is already a fact of life, premiums are 40 percent more expensive than elsewhere in the country, and it’s becoming harder and harder to find a doctor to see even if you are covered. By the way, the number of uninsured people in Massachusetts is about the same as it was when the mandates were passed in 2006.
We must send the message that opposition to the bill is not generated by angry mobs, as media portrayals might suggest, but by everyday people legitimately concerned to see the federal government so quickly expanding its control over all of our lives. More than 1,000 e-mails flooded my office the weekend before the bill’s passage, almost exclusively against it.
Here in Texas, we also face the specter of cap-and-trade legislation and EPA regulation that will cripple our state’s energy sector and cause the price of most goods and services to skyrocket for no environmental benefit. Texas had led the charge against that federal overreach, and 16 other states have joined us in that effort. We’ve also refused to be bribed into joining ongoing efforts to establish a federal educational standard that will let Washington decide what your children learn rather than leaving those decisions up to our state and communities.
It’s getting harder to find areas of life the Obama administration doesn’t want to place under federal control as a mountain of escalating debt grows to blot out our future.
Texas will continue to push back against Washington’s big government intrusion into individual liberty, and continue to champion the rights of states to enact measures that best protect citizens, employers and communities.