Think Progress and the Dallas Morning News flag a 2001 speech from Gov. Rick Perry at a border summit which contains an idea likely to anger multiple segments of the Republican base:
There are other challenges that require a unified approach,
especially in the area of health care. A lack of preventative medicine
means conditions that could have been eliminated through childhood
immunizations show up in disturbing numbers later in life. Limited
availability of medical specialists means conditions like heart disease
and diabetes go untreated at alarming rates. In Texas, we recently
placed a strong emphasis on preventative care when we expanded access to
Medicaid for more low-income children by making the Medicaid enrollment
process simpler. We allocated an additional $4 billion to the Medicaid
program, and more than $900 million to the Children's Health Insurance
Program. I urged legislators to pass a telemedicine pilot program that
will enable, through technology, a sick border resident of limited
financial means to receive care from a specialist hundreds of miles
away. But the effort to combat disease and illness requires greater
cooperative efforts between our two nations. It is a simple truth that
disease knows no boundaries. An outbreak of drug-resistant
tuberculosis, for example, endangers citizens of both our nations. We
have much to gain if we work together to expand preventative care, and
treat maladies unique to this region.
Legislation authored by border legislators Pat Haggerty and Eddie
Lucio establishes an important study that will look at the feasibility
of bi-national health insurance. This study recognizes that the Mexican
and U.S. sides of the border compose one region, and we must address
health care problems throughout that region. That's why I am also
excited that Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar is working on an
initiative that could extend the benefits of telemedicine to individuals
living on the Mexican side of the border.
Perry also touted a DREAM Act-like initiative:
We must say to every Texas child learning in a Texas classroom, “we
don’t care where you come from, but where you are going, and we are
going to do everything we can to help you get there.” And that vision
must include the children of undocumented workers. That’s why Texas
took the national lead in allowing such deserving young minds to attend a
Texas college at a resident rate. Those young minds are a part of a
new generation of leaders, the doors of higher education must be open to
them. The message is simple: educacion es el futuro, y si se puede.
As far as the cross-border healthcare initiative goes, Perry's spokespeople can brush it off, pointing out that the idea never went past the study phase. But this isn't certainly a long way from the Rick Perry of today, who's better known for his proposal to send U.S. troops into Mexico.
Will this hurt Perry's conservative credentials? One Tea Party activist tells the Dallas Morning News that "More checking under the hood needed before we buy the car." Then again, this is a race where a former Utah governor whose signature achievements in office were the state's largest ever tax cut, a ban on second trimester abortions, and expanding gun rights is considered a moderate than a former Massachusetts governor whose signature achievement was the precursor to Obamacare. Once a candidate's ideological identity gets established, it's pretty hard to shake.
HT: Marginal Revolution
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