FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How Rick Perry Spells Relief

by CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

— King James Bible, Matthew, 25:40 

It’s not that he doesn’t like veterans.  In fact in his remarks on Memorial Day when signing four bills passed by the Texas legislature he said: (invoking sober tones to deliver his message) “I don’t think there’s a deeper obligation that we have than to those who have sacrificed for our nation.”  And saying that, he signed a bill that gives a total property tax exemption to the surviving spouse of someone killed in action and a partial property tax exemption to a partially disabled veteran living in a house given to the veteran by a charitable organization.  (A third bill funds a “veteran entrepreneurship program” and a fourth gives World War II veterans with veteran license plates privileged parking benefits, a privilege with almost no fiscal impact given the ages of the benefits’ recipients.) Providing anyone relief from taxes is something every governor would enjoy doing and Governor Perry is no exception. And nothing is more important, as he makes clear in his Memorial Day remarks, than paying veterans the enormous debt we owe them. Of course the property tax relief only benefits those who own homes.  Those unable to afford homes are given no benefit from the legislation the governor so proudly promoted.

There is one thing the governor refuses to do that would benefit far more veterans than the bills he signed on Memorial Day.  That is something he is unwilling to do as he eloquently explained on April 1, 2013.  Addressing reporters at the state capitol the governor said:  “Seems to me April Fool’s day is the perfect day to discuss something as foolish as Medicaid expansion, and to remind everyone that Texas will not be held hostage by the Obama administration’s attempt to force us into the fool’s errand of adding more than a million Texans to a broken system.”

The governor has wonderful health insurance as part of the many benefits he receives being governor including a salary of $150,000 and a pension of $92,000 a year for the years he served in the state legislature.  If it were not for his philosophical objection to health care for the indigent he could, at very little cost to the state of Texas, permit Texas to participate in the Medicaid expansion.  Participation would mean that more than 1.5 million Texans who now have no health insurance protection would be covered and get health insurance just like people in Texas who are not living at the poverty level.   And not all of the 1.5 million are people who would simply be getting something that they, being poor, have no right to expect nor receive in this country where medical care is a privilege-not a right.

Among the 1.5 million Texans who would benefit are 49,000 veterans who “sacrificed for our nation” to whom, as Mr. Perry so eloquently stated on Memorial Day, we have a deep obligation.  He probably intended to say the obligation did not exist if it meant signing on to something as repugnant as health care for the poor.

By not signing on to Medicaid expansion for Texas residents, the governor is insuring that Texas will maintain its reputation that everything in Texas is bigger and better than everywhere else.  Texas will maintain its status as the state with the highest number of people without medical insurance of any state in the union. El Paso, Texas with a population of about 700,000 has more than 230,000 residents who have no health insurance.  The University Medical Center in El Paso estimates that that number would be reduced by more than one-half were Texas to participate in the expansion of Medicaid.

On June 2, 2013, it was reported that Texas U.S. Representative Pete Gallegos and ten of his democratic colleagues in Texas’s Congressional delegation signed a letter to the Governor in which they asked him to expand Medicaid assistance in Texas. Echoing the governor’s Memorial Day remarks they observed:  “Our servicemen and servicewomen put their lives on the line and sacrifice so much for our freedom.  They deserve much more than lofty rhetoric alone.”  The governor would almost certainly respond that giving relief from real estate taxes to some veterans who are lucky enough to own their own homes is the kind of relief that everyone can support.  Other would say that given a choice between not having to pay real estate taxes in Texas and being able to obtain the kind of medical care that is available in all civilized countries except the United States, veterans would opt for adequate medical care for themselves and their families.  So would the poor who did not serve in the armed forces but find themselves uninsured.  Rep. Joaquin Castro, another signer of the letter said:  “We know this can be done and hope Gov. Perry does the right thing.”

So do 1.455,000 uninsured poor.  They shouldn’t get their hopes up.  They are in the noble position of being held hostage to the governor’s dislike of anything supported by President Obama.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail