Some 2,955 people in Texas die prematurely each year because they don’t have health insurance. That is one premature death, on average, every three hours, according to recent reports by Families USA and the Center for Public Policy Priorities. Many of those are children, students in our public schools. And in a state with the highest uninsured rate in the country – one of every four Texans lacks health insurance – untold numbers of additional children are performing poorly in school – missing too many classes, dropping out, etc. – because they aren’t healthy enough to keep up with their lessons.
So, how is the governor of Texas dealing with such a major problem? Well, he vows to reject key provisions of the federal health care law, despite its approval by the U.S. Supreme Court, while yammering away at alleged Washington intrusion. In other words, the governor wants Washington to leave him alone while he continues to drive Texas over the cliff. He already has begun dismantling the public schools. So, what difference does it make if a large chunk of public school students are too unhealthy to learn?
Gov. Perry is vowing to turn his back on a huge pile of federal tax dollars that could improve the lives of millions of his constituents. Many of those dollars are being paid by Texans who will now watch the money being spent in other states while their governor continues to play politics. It is clear he has no health care alternative of his own to offer, as Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow points out in a strong column linked below.
The columnist invites the governor to “put up or shut up.” Unfortunately, Perry will do neither, but the invitation is overdue.