Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Monday his state won't comply with two initiatives in President Obama's health care law: the expansion of Medicaid and an exchange to help people buy insurance.
With Perry's letter to Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius, Texas joins states such as Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina in flouting the U.S. government on the Medicaid provision in the national health care law.
"I will not be party to socializing health care and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government," wrote Perry, who briefly ran for the GOP presidential nomination this year.
Last month, the Supreme Court upheld the health care law as constitutional, but the justices voted 7-2 to strike down the part of the law that would have forced states to accept a major expansion of Medicaid, the joint federal-state health program for the poor and disabled.
Under the health care law, if states opt not to set up a health insurance exchange, the federal government will do so for them.
In response to Perry's letter, HHS department spokesman Keith Maley told the Associated Press that consumers in all 50 states would have access to an exchange by 2014, and he said the federal department would ensure states have the "flexibility and resources they need" to implement the new law.
Texas has one of the nation's largest percentages of uninsured residents, with about 6.2million Texans -- or about a quarter of the state's population -- without health insurance.
Earlier Monday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- who is often mentioned as a possible running mate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney -- said he is still deciding whether his state will implement the health insurance exchange or expand Medicaid. Christie compared the health care law's Medicaid provision to "extortion."
Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, has sometimes opposed federal funding for his state when he believes there are limits attached. In 2010, he rejected education funding under Obama's "Race to the Top" program.
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