It was with a sickening self satisfaction that Texas Gov. Rick Perry lapped up the applause from the Republican faithful during the 2012 debate, when Brian Williams pointed out that Governor Perry holds the record for executions in Texas. At the time Gov. Perry had executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times (he is now competing with governors from Medieval Times). When asked if he lost any sleep at the notion he might have killed an innocent person, the governor gave one of the most pointed, confident answers of his candidacy. He felt no remorse, had no doubts and felt satisifed that he had delivered the ultimate justice. This question of death somehow put Rick Perry in his element.
Well, if the ghastly thought of a governor killing 234 people via capital punishment doesn't keep you up at night, consider this. According to a 2012 New England Journal of Medicine article, for every 172 new enrollees in Medicaid, there is one less death. Therefore one can plausibly lay nearly an additional 6,000 Texans deaths per year, directly at the feet of Gov. Perry. Who in his blind hatred of all things Obama, and his desperate attempts to mount a second failed run for President, is refusing to give over 1 million of his most vulnerable citizens Medicaid, at zero cost to Texans over the next 3 years.
So let's do the math, at the time of Brian Williams question Perry had executed 234 death row inmates BUT by refusing Medicaid, Governor Perry is now upping his kill rate to 6,000 people every year! That's 500 people per month, 115 people per week, 16 people a day, basically one person every hour. Rick Perry is effectively executing one (innocent)citizen every hour by not accepting federal money to pay for their health insurance. How's that for ultimate Texas justice?
It's obscene. It's horrific. It's unthinkable. Also, sadly, it's not news (but that's for another diary)
The flip side of this macabre coin is that with one signature, Governor Perry could save a life every hour. Think about that. If you had the chance to save someone's life...even once in your own life...wouldn't you take it? Especially if there was no risk to your own? Rick Perry doesn't have to give a kidney. He doesn't have to jump in front of a moving train, swim to the bottom of a carp invested mud pond to pull someone from a sinking car. No, all he has to do is write a letter, pick up the phone, send an email, get a carrier pigeon, just somehow tell the federal government he wants to opt in for the ACA Medicaid expansion. Bang. Money is there, lives are saved, no sweat and he just saved one life...every hour, of every day, of every week, of every month, of every year he is in office.
However, as of tonight, every hour someone in Texas will die because Governor Rick Perry is not allowing them access to a doctor.
I can't help but wonder how he and the GOP audience would respond in 2016 if Brian Williams asked him if he had any regrets that he allowed 24,000 people die over the last four years by not expanding Medicaid? Nevermind, I think I know, "Oops".
Link to Brian Williams question: Huff Po
Link to NEJM Article: NEJM