Gov. Rick Perry told federal officials Friday that Texas would not participate in health insurance pools for high risk individuals that are being set up under the new national health care law.
Perry, citing some of the same reasons he used to pull out of the Race to the Top education funding grant program in January, said there are not enough health care rules to guide the states. He also said he believes the $5 billion Congress set aside to set up pools in all 50 states for four years is inadequate.
“Most experts believe this amount to be insufficient. In the coming years, state officials could be forced to reduce health coverage, raise premiums or ask state taxpayers to pay for these high-risk pools once federal funds run dry,” Perry said in his letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Perry said the state also does not know what the rules for these pools will be in the future.
“As we've seen in federal education and stimulus programs, the administration is again asking the states to commit to a program without knowing the rules of engagement,” Perry said.
The state already runs a high-risk pool for health insurance for those who find it difficult to get coverage elsewhere. The pool reported that in 2008 it covered about 26,000 Texans and paid out about $265 million in medical and pharmacy benefits.
The federal funding would have expanded the program to cover more people. According to HHS, Texas' share of federal funding likely would have been about $493 million.
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