Abbott takes strong stand against ObamaCare in first year
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is taking a strong stand against ObamaCare about two months after reports surfaced that he was mulling an expansion of Medicaid under the law.
Abbott made it clear Tuesday that Texas would not be accept new federal dollars for Medicaid expansion, which has become the most controversial pieces of ObamaCare for state leaders.
“Medicaid is broken and on a path to bankruptcy, which is why Texas cannot expand Medicaid coverage under Obamacare,” the Republican governor wrote in his budget proposal released Tuesday.
Abbott, who replaced longtime ObamaCare foe Gov. Rick Perry this year, is reaffirming his stance as one of the strongest opponents of ObamaCare.
The former state attorney general played a major part in the state-led legal battle against the healthcare law, which ended up in the Supreme Court. That 2012 decision upheld the majority of the law, though it declared that states could not be forced to expand Medicaid.
Abbott had discussed Medicaid expansion in a closed-door meeting in December, shortly after he coasted to victory, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The governor-elect was immediately met with national backlash from conservative groups and local lawmakers, who have blasted Medicaid expansion as federal overreach.
Medicaid expansion has remained a political dicey issue for Republican governors who are faced with swelling healthcare expenses but also pressure to oppose ObamaCare from every direction.
Still, prominent Republican governors like New Jersey’s Chris Christie have already made the move. More than a half-dozen other Republican governors are in talks with the Obama administration, hoping to add a conservative twist on the federal program.
But Abbott wrote in his budget that states “need greater flexibility” in healthcare, not more federal programs.
Abbott blamed Medicaid for eating up a larger share of the state’s spending. He also pointed to the growing number of doctors who are turning away Medicaid clients because they feel they are being shortchanged by the government.
“Texas must seek to remove federal mandates so the state can provide for the unique healthcare needs of Texas families by continuing to seek flexibility waivers,” he wrote.