GOP governors’ denial of Medicaid expansion in their states is one outreach Latinos will take to heart — and to the polls

LatinaLista — For all their outreach to Latinos, the GOP must think that compromising on immigration reform — and to this point, no one knows exactly what their definition of compromise entails — is all that is needed to win Latinos over to their side. But they’re not looking at the bigger picture.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, flanked by fellow Republican Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, blasts Medicaid expansion in Texas

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, flanked by fellow Republican Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, blasts Medicaid expansion in Texas

Immigration reform is but only one of the issues that Latinos care about. Another is healthcare. As it stands now, too many Latinos don’t have it and standing in their way of receiving it is the Republican Party.

An updated table, released by the Kaiser Family Foundation, showing, state-by-state, who is creating health insurance exchanges and expanding Medicaid to cover uninsured residents — and it quickly becomes obvious who is thinking like a party politician and who is thinking as a leader elected to stand up for the welfare of all the state’s residents.

A couple of Republican governors understand that human suffering is not acceptable collateral to stay in good standing in the GOP. Unfortunately, there are far too many other Republican governors who don’t feel the same way. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is one of them.

Gov. Perry has chosen not to expand Medicaid in the Lone Star State.

It’s a very odd position since Texas has the distinction of having the highest number of uninsured in the nation. Thirty-eight percent of Latinos in Texas don’t have health insurance.

In trying to bolster his decision, Perry told reporters at a press conference that the Medicaid expansion wouldn’t work anyway in Texas because only 3 in 10 Texas doctors accept new Medicaid patients.

Yet, that’s not totally honest.

Politifact researched Perry’s statement and concluded it to be “Mostly False.”

For a Republican politician who stood up for DREAMers before it became cool to do so, it doesn’t make sense that he wouldn’t be able to stand up for the low-income Latinos, of which the majority don’t have to worry about deportations. He has the opportunity to halt the very real suffering of Texans who do not have the health coverage they need, but he chooses to grandstand and portray himself as a hero to his party for standing on principle — no matter how misguided.

Columnist Christian Patterson explains, in very simple terms that even Perry should understand, why it’s wrong to not expand Medicaid in Texas. One reason he cites is:

Texas will lose money if it chooses not to expand Medicaid. And not only will it lose money, it will lose a lot of money, money that protects the state’s already razor-thin social safety net. Because the authors of the Affordable Care Act understandably didn’t anticipate states turning down essentially free money (or the Supreme Court allowing them to), they created a Medicaid funding formula that shifted a lot of the funding received by hospitals that service the poor into the funds for Medicaid expansion. That basically means that hospitals that help the most needy will lose a lot of money if Perry opts not to expand Medicaid.

On top of that, Perry doesn’t have any plans to help uninsured Texans with getting health insurance.

It’s also disheartening that newly elected Sen. Cruz would have no empathy for the very community his surname would lead people to believe he is a part of, and which makes him a highly attractive presidential candidate for grooming by the GOP leadership.

But what can be expected from politicians who are nothing more than politicians?

Perry’s actions on Medicaid may be drawing praise from his supporters but his critics are increasing. In a very rare show of frustration with Perry by the media, several anchors on an independent news show in the Dallas area blasted Perry over his refusal to accept federal money to expand Medicaid.

It’s said that Cruz is thinking of running for president in 2016 but if there’s one thing that Cruz and his co-horts have forgotten is that all those poor Latinos, for whom Cruz and Perry would deny healthcare coverage today, don’t need a doctor’s note to cast a vote in the future.

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  1. Pingback: Medicaid Expansion Denial Will Cost States More than Just Money | New Visions Healthcare Blog