AUSTIN (KXAN) — As many of the state's top elected Republican leaders denounced any expansion of the Medicaid program as bad medicine for Texas, dozens of sign-waving protesting marched in circles outside the governor's office Monday urging them to reconsider.
"Perry, take the money! Perry, take the money!" the marchers chanted in unison as Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz reiterated the message against the federal health program that targets impoverished Texans.
Perry has long argued that the state's portion of Medicaid's costs will eventually bankrupt Texas, but advocates argue that the feds bear most of the cost.
"Medicaid expansion is a misguided, and ultimately doomed, attempt to mask the shortcomings of Obama care," he said. "It would benefit no one in our state to see their taxes skyrocket and our economy crushed as our budget crumbled under the weight of oppressive Medicaid costs."
Backers say that by accepting more federal Medicaid dollars would give as many as 1.5 million Texans access to health coverage.
Perry says the federal government should let Texas design and manage its own system.
Democrats, meanwhile, made a counter argument, insisting that Texas under Republican rule would do little to make sure that people of limited means get access to basic health care.
"The one way that won't work is the block-headed approach of block-granting all federal Medicaid funds to Texas," said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, taking a swipe at Perry's approach.
Added U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio: "The state doesn't have the best track record with this leadership in just taking money and simply using it to do what it wants."
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