Rick Perry: Accepting Obama’s Medicaid expansion "like putting 1,000 more people on the Titanic"

The Texas governor says providing the working poor with healthcare is like drowning them in the middle of the sea

Published November 22, 2013 3:55PM (EST)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, one of the many Republican governors to reject Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, recently offered a curious metaphor to explain his decision: Providing the working poor in his state with healthcare would be "like putting 1,000 more people on the Titanic when you knew what was going to happen," Perry said at a meeting of the Republican Governors Association.

While Perry is far from the only GOP governor to reject Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, his decision may be the most significant. According to estimates, more than a million Texans would be eligible for Medicaid if Perry were to accept the expansion. Cost shouldn't be an issue, either; the federal government foots the entire bill for expansion for the first three years, then assumes a 90 percent responsibility thereafter.

Yet Perry's opposition to the expansion is not so much about fiscal policy as it is about the governor's states' rights ideology. As Perry said at the Republican Governors Association meeting, his opposition to Medicaid is "a philosophical position.”

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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Affordable Care Act Medicaid Obamacare Republican Governors Association Rick Perry The New York Times