Perry rejects Medicaid expansion, says he won’t set up insurance exchange

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The Affordable Care Act directs each state to establish an insurance exchange, a new marketplace for individuals and small businesses to buy private insurance, by 2014. The law also directs the federal government to set up its own exchange in any state that doesn’t establish its own.

In rejecting the healthcare law’s Medicaid expansion, Perry is following at least seven other Republican governors.

The ACA expanded Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of the federal poverty line. As it was written, states had to accept the new terms in order to keep participating in Medicaid at all. But the Supreme Court late last month said that structure was coercive, and ruled that states must be able to opt out of the expansion.

GOP governors have seized on the expansion as another way to resist implementing “ObamaCare,” though the law’s supporters note that the federal government will initially cover the entire cost of the expansion.

“I stand proudly with the growing chorus of governors who reject the Obamacare power grab. Neither a ‘state’ exchange nor the expansion of Medicaid under this program would result in better ‘patient protection’ or in more ‘affordable care,’” Perry said in a statement. “They would only make Texas a mere appendage of the federal government when it comes to health care.”