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Congressman Joaquin Castro Goes on the Record on The Affordable Care Act

by: Chaille Jolink

Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 08:37 PM CST

With the enrollment deadline to have insurance in the new year quickly approaching, December 23, more and more people are realizing that having quick and immediate access to a healthcare marketplace that was not there before is actually quite helpful, and even revolutionary.

Yet despite all the help the Affordable Care Act has given everyday Texans, Republican leaders are still hell-bent on denouncing and demoralizing people who don't have access to affordable health care.

On a conference call Thursday regarding the cost of a possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act with the White House, Congressman Joaquin Castro of San Antonio went on record and discussed the positive effects the Affordable Care Act has on Texans, and how daft Republicans are in still trying to repeal it. He also discussed the unique situation Texas is in since we don't have a state exchange or new Medicaid dollars, creating the perfect storm known as the Medicaid expansion gap.

Click below the jump to read the full text of the Congressman's remarks.



Thursday, December 19, 2013
San Antonio, TX-Congressman Joaquin Castro [TX-20] today was part of a press conference call hosted by the White House on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act in Texas. Below is the transcript of his remarks.
CONGRESSMAN CASTRO: To echo part of what the Senator [Stabenow-MI] said, the Affordable Care Act really represents a new day for many Americans. For years the insurance system in our country was rigged against the average American and the average Texan. In Texas we are seeing more and more people take advantage of the Affordable Care Act. The first month we had only 3,000 people enrolled. The second month that shot up to 14,000, which was the second most of any state-Florida was first. And the third [month] is going to be even greater. Every day we have more and more people reaching out to our office to talk about how helpful the Affordable Care Act has been. Yesterday, I was at HEB, the local grocery store here, and there was a gentleman named Christopher who came up to me because he recognized me. And talked about how his wife had not had insurance for the 13 years that he's known her. And she was able to get it at a decent price. She didn't have it because she couldn't afford it. She was able to get it at a decent price through the Affordable Care Act. So he was very grateful for that policy.

In Texas, we are dealing with a very difficult, tough, and in some ways, unique situation. Not only are we not in a state exchange, but the Governor, of course, refused to expand Medicaid in the state in the nation where you have the highest percentage of people-at 25%--who have no healthcare coverage. One of the fastest growing demographic groups, Hispanics, 38% of Hispanics Texans have no health care coverage at all. And I believe 30% of Texas women don't have healthcare coverage. And so we are in a very dire situation in Texas. Our state elected leadership, Senator Cruz compared Medicaid recipients and those needing health insurance to drug addicts several months back. The Lieutenant Governor, David Dewhurst, here remarked that everybody has health care coverage it is called the emergency room. So there is a very not only callous attitude among the state Republican leadership---it was callus not to expand Medicaid--they moved from callous to malicious by putting barriers in the way by putting barriers in the way of the navigators who are trying to help get people enrolled. That said, we are still making incredible headway in enrolling folks and I think we will continue to see that. There are many afflictions in Texas, diabetes for example among the Hispanic population, where the benefits of the ACA are really going to help out those who are suffering from these chronic diseases. The American people and Texans will not stand for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. You will see, I think, a big backlash against those who try to repeal in a serious way-- not just gimmick votes, but in a serious way-if they try to repeal it there will be a real backlash among Texans and among Americans.
REPORTER: You are talking a lot about repeal, is it your impression that Republicans are again going to negotiate for repeal in exchange for the debt ceiling or are you trying to kind of pre-emptively eliminate that argument?
CONGRESSMAN CASTRO: We are hoping that Republicans will come to their senses and realize how valuable the Affordable Care Act is to the American people and not because Democrats say so, but because the American people believe it. It is clear that there are still many of them who are dead set on repealing the Affordable Care Act. Senator Cruz, for example, who cause the government shutdown, still talks just about every day through social media about repealing the Affordable Care Act. So they could threaten the debt ceiling again. We don't put that past them. But, part of the purpose of the call as well is to get the word out to them, the American people, how valuable this is.
REPORTER: Address how concerned you are about 2014 and how Americans' views of the healthcare law will affect even your own re-election campaign
CONGRESSMAN CASTRO: I believe that by November 2014 the reality will overtake the propaganda. The reality of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for Americans will overtake the propaganda machine that has been set up by many in the right-wing to disparage the Affordable Care Act. Now I don't mean to say that there haven't been glitches and problems. That's obvious to everyone. But the real tangible benefits of this law in terms of not being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, being able to keep your kids on your insurance longer, not hitting a lifetime cap on benefits-Americans now are experiencing these benefits and that reality is much more powerful, I believe, than the words of propaganda that Republicans have put out there.


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