Where Texas stands on implementing health care law


WFAA & Associated Press

Posted on June 28, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Updated Thursday, Jun 28 at 1:53 PM

Do you agree with the Supreme Court decision on the health care law?

DALLAS - The Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Barack Obama's health care law follows a century of debate over what role the government should play in helping people in the United States afford medical care.

So what does this mean for the state of Texas, and where do we currently stand now?

The number of uninsured in Texas is about 6.2 million, or about 25 percent, which is the highest percentage in the nation.

Texas has not implemented a health care exchange. Texas has joined with other states in challenging the law in court.

The Supreme Court ruling means business owners in Texas will face a penatly tax if they do not provide insurance for their workers.

Gov. Rick Perry, who is vocally opposed to the law, says the state can "deliver health care more efficiently, more effectively and cheaper than the federal government can."

Perry is calling the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the vast majority of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul a "stomach punch to the American economy."

Perry said in a statement Thursday following the ruling that, "It is a shocking disappointment to freedom-loving Americans desperate to get our country back on track. Obamacare is bad for the economy, bad for health care, bad for freedom."

He adds that "freedom was frontally attacked by passage of this monstrosity." He says the court "utterly failed in its duty to uphold the Constitutional limits placed on Washington."

Former Texas representative and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Paul Sadler called the ruling a "victory."

"The decision of the Supreme Court is a great victory for the citizens of this country who already have insurance, as well as those in need of health care," he said.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says a decision on creating an insurance market called for under the health care overhaul will be "hammered out in the coming weeks and months."

Texas has not yet implemented the exchange where individuals and small businesses can shop for private coverage from a range of competing insurers.

In a decision Thursday that vastly upheld the majority of the overhaul, the court says the law's expansion of Medicaid could proceed but the federal government can't withhold states' entire Medicaid allotment if they don't take part.

Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs says he's pleased the ruling gives states more ability to "push back" against expansion. Abbott says whether or not to expand the program will be a policy decision by the state.