- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Jan. 15, 2014.

Gov. Perry’s forecast: Gloom, despair, Obamacare in 2014

And a Happy New Year to you, too, Gov. Rick Perry. The governor/yell leader of this energy-booming, job-generating dynamo of a state delivered an uncharacteristically bleak assessment of 2014 in a guest column published by The Dallas Morning News:

“The promise and potential I normally greet each New Year with is, this year, being tested by a great sense of peril as Americans face the full brunt of the disastrous impacts of Obamacare in 2014,” Perry wrote. “The delays, deceit and debacles that marked Obamacare’s rollout in 2013 show no signs of slowing in the new year.”

Actually, the delays and debacles are dissipating, despite Perry’s best efforts. The governor of the state with the nation’s largest population of medically uninsured, about 6 million, has done all he could to sabotage the rollout of the government health insurance program - and to keep Texas’ uninsured millions uninsured.

Perry made sure Texas refused a federally funded expansion of Medicaid in Texas - the largest of 25 states still not signed up. And he refused to let Texas establish its own insurance exchanges to help its residents find insurance, instead leaving that task to the federal government. We feel duped, having fallen for Perry’s years of evangelizing that Texas is a Lord-helps-those-who-help-themselves state.

Instead, thanks to Perry, Texas is helping all the other states by refusing to accept the Medicaid expansion. The result is that we Texans support those blue Northeasterners with our tax dollars without those Northeasterners returning the favor. A New York University professor, Jim Purvis, wrote us a big thank-you, published by the Austin American Statesman: “For so many things … but above all, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for sacrificing your own poor people so that our poor people could have free health insurance.”

That’s sweet. But it leaves us feeling a bruised shade of blue.

Purvis pointed out the obvious, as have we, on several occasions - that the lack of medical coverage in Texas will keep our poor folks using the emergency room as their clinic, at inflated Texas taxpayer expense. By “Texas taxpayer,” we mean, particularly, Nueces County taxpayers who fund indigent care through the Nueces County Hospital District.

We’re not fans of Obamacare. But we also don’t reflect wistfully upon the system it is replacing. If Obamacare is socialism, its predecessor was an oligarchy that tyrannized patients and health care professionals alike. With a nod to the great songwriter Pete Townshend, all we premium-paying plebes see is a new boss, strikingly similar to the old boss. We’d like to see how the old tyranny will look, streamlined.

If we sound like a broken record, it’s because Perry sounds like a broken record. You’ve heard this all before from us and we all have heard it before from Perry. His non-solutions-oriented rant gets tiring. In 14 years as governor, Perry has done more harm than good to health care in Texas.

So, why did Obamacare have to be the focus of his New Year’s message? Why didn’t he write instead about how ruggedly individualistic Texas will keep fracking its way to heaven on earth in 2014 no matter what the feds do?

The obvious answer is as plain as the new eyeglasses on the nose of Perry’s face - the eyeglasses that are supposed to make America not quite recognize the Rick Perry who ran for president in 2012. Those pilot’s eyes are laser-focused on something other than governing Texas through January 2015, which is when his term will end officially. That’s why the pessimistic fixation on the nation’s largest wedge issue. And that’s why he wrote about Obamacare as the peril facing Americans, not just Texans.

Our final thoughts: If his mind is on an office higher than governor and his focus is bigger-picture than Texas, why wait until 2015 to relinquish this job he evidently has outgrown? Why not let someone who wants it have it now?

That would make 2014 interesting indeed.

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