On the same day that 2.8 million people visited Healthcare.gov, the website to sign up for the new healthcare exchanges under Obamacare, Texas Gov. Rick Perry called the implementation of the law a "criminal act."
"If this health care law is forced upon this country, the young men and women in this audience are the ones who are really going to pay the price,” he said Tuesday at a campaign stop for New Jersey GOP Senate candidate Steve Lonegan, according to RealClearPolitics. "And that, I will suggest to you, reaches to the point of being a felony toward them and their future. That is a criminal act, from my perspective, to put that type of burden on them, to mortgage their future like that. America cannot stand that. America cannot accept that."
Perry is a staunch opponent of the health care law, and rejected its Medicaid expansion in his state, which has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country, at about one in four. But calling Obamacare's escalation a "criminal act" marks a significant escalation in rhetoric. Despite Perry's distaste for the law, Politico reported that Texas officials were in talks with the Obama administration seeking about $100 million through the law for the elderly and disabled.
Texas became one of the 36 states having their health care exchanges administered by the federal government after Perry refused to have the state set up one. Demand was high across the country Tuesday as people tried to sign up for the exchanges. The AP reported that the United Way call center in Austin had around 180 calls by 11 a.m., mostly from people seeking to enroll in health insurance, while it usually gets about 150 calls in an entire day.