Austin insiders were buzzing yesterday about the level of input lawmakers were getting from citizen-leaders, conservative activists and taxpayers in advance of a House Republican Caucus meeting. As you know, the meeting was set to discuss whether or not the GOP body should take a public position opposing the expansion of the Medicaid program.

Despite heavy lobbying from grow-government shills, the Texas House GOP caucus voted nearly unanimously to oppose Medicaid expansion. Leading the fight against Medicaid expansion in the House has been State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) and State Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond).

The lesson: lawmakers will listen to the taxpayers—we just have to speak, and we have to speak loud enough to be heard!

A political gossip blog breathlessly reported that conservatives were “email blasting [lawmakers], urging Republicans not to ‘cave on Obamacare’.”

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry have both taken strong positions opposing Medicaid expansion. Mr. Cruz said yesterday that rather than create new classes of people dependent on government programs, the focus should be on “growing [the] economy, not Medicaid.”

Republicans outside Texas, unfortunately, are giving in to Obama Administration offers to expand their Medicaid programs, despite the knowledge such action will bankrupt their states.

This morning, liberal activists are gathering at the state Capitol for a rally urging the legislature to expand the expensive, ineffective Medicaid program. Proving that Orwellian doublespeak isn’t confined to literature, the anti-responsibility/anti-liberty crowd is equating expansive government programs to independence.

Precisely how “independence” is increased by shackling people to bureaucratic-run health care is anyone’s guess…

These anti-liberty groups will make a lot of noise, because the fight isn’t over. The vote in the GOP caucus is both non-binding and unofficial. There is going to be a lot of room for big-spending mischief in the weeks ahead. As taxpayers and conservatives, we cannot let up.

Watch Out For Weak Knees
Remember: The GOP caucus vote was not unanimous. While we don’t know officially who voted wrong in caucus, we do know that there are some who—if given the chance—will vote to burden taxpayers with bigger Medicaid expenses in the actual legislative debate.

Some House Republicans are noting they only voted to oppose expansion “in the current form,” but might be open to deals that nonetheless gouge the taxpayers. In other words: They’ll wiggle out of their commitments to stand strong for Texas if some cosmetic changes can be made down the road.

Unfortunately, Medicaid is a failure; more money and a fresh coat of paint won’t make it any better. In the words of State Sen. Tommy Williams of The Woodlands, the program is “neither rational nor efficient.” Expending new dollars on such a thing is a fruitless endeavor.

Similarly, attempting to appease rent-seekers and government-growers with “conservative”-themed central planning is a fool’s errand.

Sen. Cruz was right: a growing economy will do more to improve health care than all the government programs ever imagined. Therefore, we should focus on doing those things proven to grow the economy: reduce the burden of government, lower taxes, and cut regulations.

Rather than grow government bureaucracy, let’s protect families from the nanny state and expand liberty. Only in that way can we make a truly healthy Texas.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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