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Texas leaders stand firm against Obamacare

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry joined the state’s GOP Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and other lawmakers in Austin on Monday to reiterate their opposition to “Obamacare” and call for flexibility in how they implement Medicaid, a health entitlement program for the poor that they view as broken.

The Texans are among those who are resisting the Obama administration’s efforts to expand Medicaid program to those making 133 percent of the federal poverty level, as outlined in the Affordable Care Act.

While some other Republican governors have announced they will accept federal dollars that pay for the expansion in 2014-2016, Mr. Perry is among GOP leaders who say they want to reform the federal-state program on their own terms. He said his state’s budget is being crushed “under the weight of oppressive Medicaid costs.”

Other states have echoed the call for more autonomy from Washington in how they run Medicaid.

A burgeoning plan among some governors is to buy private insurance with the influx of Medicaid dollars through Mr. Obama’s law. The Department of Health and Human Services gave Arkansas preliminary approval for such an arrangement, leading other states to inquire about it.

For now, the roundtable of Texans who met in Austin on Monday are not about to play ball with the Obama administration.

“Medicaid is a broken system that is failing Texans and overwhelming the state budget,” Mr. Cornyn said. “The program must be fundamentally reformed, and Texas — not the federal government — is best suited to design a health care program for its poorest and most vulnerable residents.”

Mr. Cruz, an outspoken freshman, has introduced multiple pieces of legislation to repeal the president’s health care law.

“The Supreme Court made clear that the Constitution does not allow the federal government to force states to expand Medicaid, and doing so would impose crippling pressures on the Texas budget for decades to come — pressures that would crowd out other vital state priorities like public education, infrastructure and law enforcement,” he said.

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