Incoming Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office is pushing back against recent optimism among Medicaid expansion advocates that he might be receptive to participating in that key Obamacare program.
Abbott spokeswoman Amelia Chasse sought to reassure conservatives that Abbott (R) still opposed the health care reform law in a statement to National Review Online on Friday.
“Fear not — Governor-elect Abbott has fought Obamacare and will continue to fight against it. He believes the ACA is not the best option for patients, doctors or taxpayers,” Chasse said. “Greg Abbott believes that Texas should be able to address our unique health-care situation without federal interference, putting patients and doctors in charge of health-care decisions.”
As TPM reported, Medicaid expansion supporters in Texas were encouraged because Abbott had asked in a closed-door meeting about the alternative plan that Republican-led Utah had been negotiating with the Obama administration.
But an unnamed source close to Abbott told NRO that gesture had been misinterpreted. The Utah plan had come up during the meeting, and Abbott didn’t know much about it, the source said, but he isn’t interested in pursuing a similar model in Texas.
“His position has been grossly mischaracterized,” the source said.
Abbott’s office did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.
If Texas did expand Medicaid, it would be a huge win for Obamacare’s supporters. The state, a conservative bellwether as it is, also accounts for about one-fourth of the 4 million people left uncovered under the law because of GOP refusal to participate in the program.