Rick Perry, speaking at
a U.S.-Mexico border summit ten years ago:
There are other challenges that require a unified approach, especially in the area of health care. [...] 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. [...] 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's campaign, which almost certainly understands the political toxicity of those words to the GOP's tea party base, is doing it's best to deflect attention from the speech.
Perry campaign spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger downplayed the reference to bi-national health insurance.
"A bill was passed by the Legislature that authorized a study to look into this issue, which ultimately concluded there were numerous barriers to accomplishing that idea, and the Legislature took no further action on this concept," she said.
But that's just a simple restatement of the facts. When he discussed the study, Perry said it was "important" because "the Mexican and U.S. sides of the border compose one region, and we must address health care problems throughout that region." So even if the study led to a dead end, that's not what Perry was hoping for when he signed it into law. Now he's trying to hide behind it's failure, but that doesn't change the fact that he wanted it to succeed.