Galveston, Matagorda and Brazioria counties opted out of Social Security in 1981, and established as an alternative, a plan in which workers' salaries, together with employer contributions, were placed in private accounts.
Under the Galveston Plan, retirement funds are invested in the private market. Rick Gornto is one of the architects of the plan.
"It's better benefits at less cost, more tax efficient than Social Security, and provides a broad-base of benefits of disability, life and retirement benefits, that exceeds Social Security."
He says the plan is an asset that you own, whereas Social Security is a promise to pay.
"And it may be paid at some level or the other, but they could make the adjustments and change, based on whatever is going on in the government. This plan is yours, and it's fixed."
During a discussion at Rice University about the Galveston Plan, Senator John Cornyn says time is running out for Washington to save Medicare and Social Security.
"Our desire is to try to find a way to save them, so we can keep the promise we made to our seniors that when their time comes, that they'll be there for them. That's not a promise we can make today. Republicans and Democrats alike understand that, but what's lacking right now is the leadership and political courage to make a decision to deal with it, rather than just ignore it."
He says some of the solutions are bi-partisan and well known, but being ignored.
Senator Ted Cruz agreed, and that too many politicians in Washington have not been willing to step up and do something to fix a program that millions of seniors depend on.
"I think one of the critical keys that these three Texas counties have shown is personal ownership and the power of personal ownership to enable people, often who are making modest salaries, to accumulate very substantial assets, assets that can provide for them security in retirement, and assets that can also make a very real difference in the lives of their children and their grandchildren."
Both senators say their fact-gathering mission here is only part of the process, but adds the success in the three counties gives them hope that the so-called "fiscal cliff" won't be the only alternative.