Gov. Perry Reiterates Support For Turning Medicaid Into Block Grants

October 11, 2011 10:25 pm ET

From the October 11, 2011, Bloomberg/Washington Post GOP primary debate:

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GOV. RICK PERRY: Well certainly the issue of health care is probably one of the biggest one that's facing us. I mean there are a lot of Americans sitting out there today and getting those people back to work is the most important thing that we do as country so that they can have the opportunity to purchase health care. I think that is probably the biggest issue that are facing Americans, there are people sitting out there around the kitchen table watching TV tonight who are looking for someone to lay out an idea that truly will get this country back working again. That's why I lay out, without having any congressional impact at all, how to get our energy industry back to work and back to work very quickly. But in the state of Texas, from the standpoint of what we've done to make access of health care better, we passed the most sweeping tort reform in the nation in 2003. We also passed Healthy Texas, which expands the private-sector insurance, and we've driven down the cost of insurance by 30 percent. So those are some of the ways that the states— but the real issue for us is Medicaid and how to get the flexibility on Medicaid, so that the innovators can occur in the states. I can promise you, whether it's Governor Jindal or myself or Susana Martinez over in New Mexico, that's where you'll find the real innovation in health care. The way to deliver health care more efficiently, more effectively, is to block grant those dollars back to the states and keep this federal government that has this one-size-fits-all mentality from driving the thought process that we've seen that's destroyed health care in this country today. 

KAREN TUMULTY (MODERATOR): But Governor Perry, as the Washington Post fact checker noted, Texas has had 16 waivers for Medicaid, so how can you say the problem is that the federal government has not given Texas enough flexibility?

PERRY: They haven't anywhere near given the states— I think what you should see is the block granting, not having to go to Washington, D.C. and ask them, "Mother, may I," every time you come up with a concept or an idea. Block granting back to the states, I guarantee you, the governors and their innovators in their states will come up with ways to better deliver health care more efficiently, more effectively, more cost efficiently, and that's what this country is looking for, is a president who understands that we have these 50 laboratories of innovation. Free up these states from Washington D.C.'s one-size-fits-all.


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