KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

The Perry Record On Reform, Medicaid And HPV Vaccinations

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's high-profile launch of his campaign for the GOP nomination for president means fresh scrutiny on his record and platform regarding health issues.

Houston Chronicle: Close-Up: Texas Under Perry
As Gov. Rick Perry travels the country in his bid for the Republican nomination for president, his and Texas' record on health care issues - particularly in light of his criticism of the health care reform bill touted by President Barack Obama - will draw fresh scrutiny. With 26 percent of its citizens lacking health insurance, Texas ranks the worst in the nation for health care coverage. Premiums are well above the national average. The number of Texans who qualify for Medicaid has grown 80 percent since 2001. While Perry trumpets the state's balanced budget, he fails to mention that lawmakers this year cut $805 million from doctors serving Medicaid patients, and that they also postponed $4 billion in Medicaid costs for payment in the next budget cycle (Kilday Hart and Scharrer, 8/17).

The Texas Tribune: Perry And The Stimulus: It's Complicated
Medicaid spending overshot what had been budgeted, and lawmakers had to approve so-called supplemental appropriations to cover the difference. They used federal funds to supplant spending that would otherwise have come from the state. ... The state budget lowers the estimate of what Texas will have to spend, by federal law, on Medicaid in 2012-13 by $4.8 billion in hopes that "operational efficiencies" will be found or that an improving economy will mean more tax dollars fill the state's coffers (Ramsey, 8/17).

The Wall Street Journal: Perry Says Vaccine Order Was Mistake
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, under questioning from voters in recent days, has switched positions on a 2007 executive order he issued mandating the vaccination of all young girls before they enter sixth grade to ward off cervical cancer. Mr. Perry's order that Texas school girls receive the vaccine, Gardasil, made by Merck & Co., was overturned by the state legislature and never got off the ground. But it still has roiled conservatives and Christian groups for years (Mundy, 8/18).

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