Despite the fact that the Affordable Care Act’s implementation is continuing to proceed and cover millions of Americans nationwide, Republicans are still focused on repealing the law. House Republicansvoted to repeal Obamacare yet again last week. The Texas Republican Congressional delegation are particularly vocal opponents of the Affordable Care Act–as the House was voting to repeal, Ted Cruz was proposing his own version of Obamacare repeal.
However, new enrollment numbers out this week suggest that Texas congressmen will have a lot more constituents to answer to if they were ever to succeed at repealing Obamacare. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, “more than 969,000 Texans have enrolled in or renewed their coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace as of Jan. 30, 2015.” That includes the following numbers from metro areas across Texas:
- -Dallas/Fort Worth: 277,015
-San Antonio-New Braunfels: 89,821
-Austin-Round Rock: 85,116
-El Paso: 40, 791
The deadline to get enrolled for this year is February 15, and experts are confident that the number of Texans able to get affordable insurance coverage through the marketplace will reach 1 million by that deadline.
Mimi Garcia, Texas State Director of Get Covered America, expressed her optimism in a statement:
“To hear that more than 969,000 Texans have either renewed or enrolled in health care coverage in the two-and-a-half months since open enrollment began is beyond thrilling. I’m optimistic that we will hit the 1 million mark by the February 15 deadline,” Garcia said. “We are extremely grateful to all our partners throughout the state that have worked so diligently in helping us enroll people. But our work is not done, we still have eleven days to go before the deadline and we are working tirelessly to get as many Texans enrolled in a quality and affordable health care plan as possible.”
Yet despite the good news, there are still millions of Texans who still need health coverage. Texas is still home to the highest rate of uninsured people in the nation, with 6.2 million, or 1 in 4 people, who are uninsured. The 1 million people who have received marketplace coverage are a huge step toward bringing that number down, but there are still many more to go.
1 million of those who remain without coverage are stuck in the Medicaid coverage gap–their incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to qualify for subsidized marketplace coverage. These individuals make less than the federal poverty line, but cannot get coverage thanks to the actions of Rick Perry, and now Greg Abbott, who are refusing to cooperate with the Obama administration and expand Medicaid. Expanding Medicaid would cover yet another million Texans, and move Texas away from the dubious distinction of being the most uninsured state in the country. But that seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Nonetheless, the new enrollment numbers are good news for Texas. Texans are getting covered thanks to the Affordable Care Act, bringing the state forward no matter how hard Republicans are trying to hold us back.