Perry’s Titanic Texas: Health Insurance

Photograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Texas Governor Rick Perry says his first priority as president would be to do away with the new health care law while being interviewed by Google Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair pin this August 15, 2011 file photo in Iowa.

Updated at 3:30 pm EDT

What don’t Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have in common?

Health insurance for their fellow home states’ residents.

It was Perry, the Texas governor who also sought the Republican Party’s presidential nomination last year, who announced last summer that he would reject the health-care exchanges and Medicaid expansion included in President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

“The bottom line here is that Medicaid is a failed program,” Perry said in an appearance on Fox News. “To expand this program is not unlike adding a thousand people to the Titanic.”

Yet look what else is sinking:

For the fifth year in a row, Texas ranks No. 1 in Americans lacking health insurance, according to a Gallup-Healthways survey.

More than a quarter of adult Texans — 28.8 percent — lacked coverage in 2012, the highest rate for any state since the survey started in January 2008.

Massachusetts, it goes to figure, has the lowest rate, at 4.5 percent — thanks to another former governor, Romney, who once advocated a mandate there that became less appealing to him in the 2012 presidential election contest.

Nationwide, an average of 16.9 percent of all adults lacked coverage.

While Perry holds out against the Medicaid expansion, other Republican governors — including Florida’s Rick Scott — have started reassessing their opposition to the provision of “Obama-care” that offers states expanded funding and coverage for more people. The Florida Legislature, however, appears to want none of it today.

In Florida, 22.8 percent of all adults were uninsured for health care.

Gallup’s Elizabeth Mendes reports: “Uninsured rates in about half the U.S. remained higher in 2012 than in 2008. Just four states, though, show year-over-year increases every year since 2008 — Rhode Island, New Jersey, California, and New York. And Texas — the state with the highest adult uninsured rate in the country for five years in a row — continues to widen the gap between it and the state with the second-highest uninsured rate in the U.S.”

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey throughout 2012, with a random sample of 353,564 adults and a possible margin of error of 1 percentage point.

 

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