If He's Not Careful, Perry Might Turn Texas Blue

Ronald Brownstein: Opposition to ObamaCare might energize Hispanics

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 22, 2013 1:15 PM CDT | Updated Mar 22, 2013 1:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Texas in the blue-state camp? If that turns out to be the case years from now, Republicans will be able to trace it back to 2013 and Rick Perry's stubborn refusal to accept federal money to expand Medicaid, writes Ronald Brownstein in the National Journal. Other GOP governors have changed their thinking to embrace this key part of ObamaCare because it's crazy not to—in Texas' case, for example, the state would get $100 billion in federal money in the next decade while putting up only $15 billion of its own. Perry calls it "federal bribery" and doesn't want to sully his anti-Obama reputation ahead of a rumored second run for the presidency in 2016.

Consider, however, that Texas has about 3.6 million uninsured Hispanics, and a Medicaid expansion would provide coverage to about 1 million of them. Consider, too, that Hispanics will make up about one-third of the state's electorate in 2016. If Perry and state Republicans reject the federal money, "they could provide Democrats with an unprecedented opportunity to energize those voters—the key to the party’s long-term revival," writes Brownstein. California morphed into a Democratic state after Gov. Pete Wilson angered Hispanics over immigration in 1994. "Texas Republicans wouldn’t be threatened as quickly, but they may someday judge their impending decision on expanding Medicaid as a similar turning point." Click for the full column.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during the Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth last June.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during the Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth last June.   (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
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