A day before a Friday deadline, Gov. Rick Perry announced Texas would not set up a key component of the Affordable Care Act, a health-insurance exchange that would allow individuals and small businesses to find coverage online at the most favorable price.
The governor reiterated his opposition in a letter released Thursday to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
"As long as the federal government has the ability to force unknown mandates and costs upon our citizens, while retaining the sole power in approving what an exchange looks like, the notion of a state exchange is merely an illusion," Perry said in the letter. "It would not be fiscally responsible to put hard-working Texans on the financial hook for an unknown amount of money to operate a system under rules that have not even been written."
Proponents of the exchange contend it will allow the state to significantly reduce the size of its uninsured population, the largest in the United States.
In the wake of last week's election results, a few Republican governors have had second thoughts about their opposition to the program.
They include Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has been, along with Perry, one of the most vociferous opponents of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare.
"The election is over and President Obama won," Scott told the Associated Press this week. "I'm responsible for the families of Florida. … If I can get to yes, I want to get to yes."
Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska, both Republicans, also declined to participate.
North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, said her state would pursue a partnership model with the federal government.
Every state is supposed to have an exchange by Jan. 1, 2014, when the Affordable Care Act will require most Americans to have insurance.
For Texas and other states that refuse to set up exchanges, the federal government will do it for them.
Via Michael Charney