Just a few moments ago I witnessed a rare act of political courage.
We learned last week about the Republican attempt to undo the important reforms conservatives made in the Children’s Health Insurance Program four years ago. At that time, the stories of fraud and abuse were overwhelming. People with new luxury vehicles parked in the driveway, and yet they had taxpayers pick up the tab for their kidsâ€™ health insurance.
So in 2003 the legislature made great reforms. Among them, requiring parents to prove they actually qualified for the program (horrors!), making them renew withÂ the program every six months (it had been an annual renewal), and tightening the eligibility requirements (only the people who need it). The liberals whined and complained, because their government program was being dragged into the sunlight.
The conservative philosophy prevailed in the debate back in 2003, and it has worked in practice (despite the media distortions of the facts). Children needing coverage get it, and the fraudsters were kicked out. And yet Republicans have chosen retreat. And with every retreat, even more retreat becomes inevitable — and more costly.
So rather than voting today on a Republican retreat billâ€¦ The House Human Services Committee just took a bill by Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston), and made it look a lot like the Republican retreat bill.
When the committee took their vote today, only one member had the nerve to stand by the sound, successful, conservative reforms of ’03.
State Rep. Tan Parker, a freshman from Flower Mound, was the only Republican member of the committee to do the right thing. He said no to growing government, no to increasing needlessly the welfare roles, and said no to paving the way for more fraud and abuse. He was the only Republican to vote for protecting Texas’ taxpayers.
State Reps. Rob Eissler, Bryan Hughes, John Davis (who carried the original retreat bill) and Susan King all voted for this about-face. This is made all the worse because Eissler, Davis and Hughes were proponents of the reforms back in ’03; King is a freshman. Not surprisingly, all the Democrats on the committee, including Chairman Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs), voted to repeal the conservativeÂ reforms.Â
Liberals in the Capitol are rejoicing. Taxpayers are now again on the hook for even more bad pending and bad policy in the weeks, months and years ahead.
Rep. Parker deserves to be strongly praised for his courageous stand protecting taxpayers. He is going to be under intense pressure and criticism for his principled vote. Please, no matter where you live in the state, join me in thanking, and encouraging, this strong supporter of taxpayers.