According to yesterday’s article in the Brownsville Herald, 790,245 Texans are on health insurance welfare rolls (84% receive welfare, i.e, subsidies). Another 128,645 Texans are on health plans too but those poor bastards are not getting any type of welfare assistance (subsidies) at all. That’s unfair!
The article points out that there are approximately 6 million uninsured Texans. So that must mean that there were about 7 million uninsured Texans but now that 918,890 have become insured under ACA that leaves only 6 million left to sign up (80 signed up yesterday in Brownsville according to the article).
Are the 5,999,920 million left to sign up non US citizens? If so, then there are no uninsured Texans according to ACA rules.
U.S. Congressman Filemon Vela’s office is spearheading another Affordable Care Act enrollment event in Brownsville — this time a two-day sign-up fair taking place Tuesday and Wednesday at the Brownsville Event Center.
Starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, volunteers and ACA “navigators” will be on hand to answer questions about the ACA and help residents who don’t have health insurance enroll in an insurance plan. The deadline to buy insurance through the ACA “marketplace” is Feb. 15.
Federal law requires that every uninsured U.S. citizen, unless eligible for an exemption, enroll in an insurance plan by Feb. 15 or face a penalty come tax time. ACA provides for financial assistance for those who are eligible.
Vela said the upcoming 24-hour ACA Enrollment Fair was the brainchild of his staff, especially district director Marisela Cortez.
“Usually we’re doing these during the day and on weekends,” he said. “For a lot of folks, it’s easier for them to go sign up in the evening. We’ll see how it goes.”
The event is a partnership with the city of Brownsville, local hospitals and a number of ACA enrollment groups and non-profit community health and housing organizations.
Vela will be in Washington casting votes on legislation and won’t be able to attend the fair, though he did appear at a recent series of ACA signup events in Alice, Beeville, Kingsville, Mathis and San Juan.
Although people were lined up in Mathis, participation was spottier in some other communities, he said.
In Brownsville in November, shortly after the start of the current enrollment, Vela was joined by U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro to promote ACA signups, resulting in about 80 new signups, Vela said.
“Last year, I was more cautious, just because with the computer glitch it was difficult to invite people to an event, not knowing whether the computers were going to work,” he said.
“But this year, with reports that everything is working a lot better, we’ve been pretty aggressive with these events, and they’ve been real successful. It’s one of those things, you have to keep hitting it at every angle. The deadline for enrollment is near.”
This is the second open-enrollment period for the ACA, or Obamacare, which became law in 2010. As of Jan. 16, 918,890 Texas residents had enrolled or reenrolled in a health plan under the law, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Of that number, 86 percent were eligible for financial assistance and 44 percent had enrolled in a plan for the first time. Nationally, 9.5 million Americans had enrolled or reenrolled in a plan by Jan. 16, according to HHS. A little under 7 million uninsured Americans signed up during the 2013-14 enrollment period.
Texas tops the nation’s uninsured rate, with roughly a quarter of the state’s population, or more than 6 million Texans, lacking health insurance. Despite that, Vela said there’s still plenty of work to do spreading the word about the ACA.
“Without question, there are a lot of people out there that don’t know that they have an opportunity to enroll,” he said. “All we can do is keep giving these opportunities. I’ve learned from last week’s experience that next year we’re going to have to do more of them.”
Vela seemed to consider the political jousting over Obamacare as essentially irrelevant to the task at hand.
“There’s a lot of debate,” he said. “We can debate the Affordable Care Act all day long. But at the end of day, the fact is that there are people who are uninsured and we have a system that will allow them to be insured.
“We have an obligation to let them know about it. If one person who wasn’t insured becomes insured, then it’s a success.”