AUSTIN, Tex. — There are more uninsured residents of Texas — 6.1 million and counting — than there are people in 33 states. The state’s elected officials might be expected, therefore, to cheer a federal health care law that is likely to deliver billions of dollars from Washington to Austin and cover millions of low-income Texans
Instead, the Republican political leadership has greeted the law and its anticipated costs with open hostility, leaving policy makers to move forward with a complex set of changes even as the governor, attorney general and ranking legislators rage against it. The same awkward dichotomy exists in many of the 21 states that are challenging the health reform act’s constitutionality, but are nonetheless required to follow it while their lawsuits meander through the courts.
In Austin, legislative hearings and agency planning sessions proceed despite Gov. Rick Perry’s vow to fight “on every front available” against a law that he characterizes as “socialism on American soil.” Bureaucrats apply for federal grants and collaborate with the Obama administration at the same time that Attorney General Greg Abbott strategizes to eviscerate the law in court.