As a promising presidential candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry has been vocal in his attacks on the Obama administration and its sweeping changes and nationalized health care — but where does Perry himself stand on health care issues, and what would “Perrycare” look like, exactly?
In a recent feature in The Atlantic, reporters following Perry’s record on health care and insurance issues say that Perry’s first months on the campaign trail have done little to clarify what he would do to revamp or rescind the recent wave of Obama health care initiatives. But following some digging, more details of Perry’s proposals emerged.
Perry’s staff provided writers at The Texas Tribune with some clues, mostly saying that the governor’s first step would be to work with Congress to repeal Obama’s changes and to try to start over–and push for more state-level control and possibilities for localized reform efforts.
Perry spokesman Mark Miner is quoted as saying the governor would attempt to lower skyrocketing health care costs “through the proven, market-based strategies of transparency, choice and competition.”
States would be incentivized to help encourage more competition in the insurance marketplace, and Miner added that Perry would push them to help create better options for patients with costly pre-existing conditions and to provide low-cost options for small businesses.
The Medicaid issue
Based on his legislative record, health care experts suggest Perry as president would seek to push control for Medicaid to the state level, as well, in addition to more localized control over entities such as the Food and Drug Administration (which he is said to see as holding back domestic medical industries).
But Medicare will probably be a topic to be avoided during campaigning, given the support he needs from elderly voters, especially during key primaries.
And if Perry does make it to the final running, he will indeed have to explain the full extent of his health care plans. Democrats have plenty of ammunition to suggest that the governor’s record tells the real story, with Texas ranking dead last in the country in terms of health insurance coverage and spending on mental health services, and second-last in the number of low-income residents covered by Medicaid.
Perry spokesman Miner offered some positives of Texas’ health care industry, however, including Houston’s Texas Medical Center, the largest in the world, and MD Anderson, considered by many to be the No. 1 cancer treatment center in the world. And Miner argued that the Texas health insurance market is healthy: 133 companies provide coverage, he said, and Texas premiums are lower than the national average.