TYLER—Hank Gilbert (D-Whitehouse), a candidate for Texas Governor, issued the following statement at the conclusion of the President’s healthcare address tonight:
“Texas has a higher percentage of its citizens living without health insurance than any other state in the nation. Instead of working constructively to do something about this problem, Governor Perry and Senator Hutchison behave like children on a school playground—each one peevishly blaming the other for our state’s problems. Or Washington. Or the 10th Amendment. Basically, doing anything BUT acknowledging their own failure and disregard for their fellow Texans.
One thing you also haven’t heard them say is how they’ll solve the health insurance crisis in Texas. Whether or not the President’s national healthcare plan becomes a reality, we have to do something about health insurance in Texas. We lead the nation in the number of uninsured children. We rank 46th out of the 50 states when it comes to the number of people covered by employer-funded healthcare plans.
That’s inexcusable. During the 24 years Rick Perry has held public office, and during the 18 years Kay Bailey Hutchison has held statewide office, neither has demonstrated the courage Texas needs to pull our state up by the bootstraps from the health insurance sinkhole. These two have more than four decades of government experience between them, and this is the best we get? Allowing health insurance lobbyists to control the agenda in their offices? Campaign coffers filled with money from health insurance interests?
I applaud the folks in Washington who are trying to do something to ease healthcare costs in an effort to help small businesses and ordinary Texans who have been abused for decades by greedy insurance companies. Insurance companies need aggressive competition and fair but strict regulation so consumers are protected and prices don’t skyrocket out of reach of ordinary Texans. Here in Texas, the first step toward making sure that happens is reforming the Texas Department of Insurance. As your governor, I will transform this agency, in cooperation with the Legislature, to make the Texas Insurance Commissioner an elected office held accountable to the voters, and not the governor.”