Affordable Care Act

Two Months Before Obamacare Milestone, Houston Activist Group Gets Ready

A new report reveals that 22 Texas counties are among the worst places to live in the country when it comes to health insurance and health problems. The report comes at a crucial time for those who want to promote Obamacare.


The report comes from the left-leaning think tank known as the Center for American Progress.

It used county-by-county data from across the U.S. to look at how many people are uninsured in each county and also the impact of diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Of the 30 worst counties in the country, 22 were in Texas.

Some of the counties are on the Mexican border, but others are in East Texas or near Houston.

For example, Matagorda County, Waller County, and Polk County made the list.

“It’s really bad for Texans.”

That’s Tiffany Hogue, who’s leading a statewide health campaign for a grassroots group called the Texas Organizing Project.

“You know, looking across the entire country, they pulled the 30 worst and out of that 30, two-thirds of them are in the Texas. It’s a compelling study and a compelling story to tell but it’s also what everyday Texans are experiencing who don’t have health insurance and who don’t have access to affordable care.”

The Texas Organizing Project is just one of hundreds of civic and church groups that will spend August and September spreading the word about the upcoming health marketplace in Texas.

The marketplace is part of Obamacare and will provide options for uninsured people to purchase policies.

People can compare policies online and see if they are eligible for a subsidy to help pay for the premium.

Enrollment begins October 1.

Unlike other states, Texas officials are not doing any education or outreach about the marketplace, which will be run by the federal government.

Gabriel Pedreira handles communications for the Houston office of the Texas Organizing Project.

He says the group has a good volunteer base in communities like Pasadena, Acres Homes and the Fifth Ward, places where the lack of health insurance is a huge problem.

“A lot of our organizers are going to be going door to door to speak to low- and moderate- income Texans. People who really have been left behind.”

Pedreira says explaining the marketplace to Texans will not be easy.

That’s because some uninsured Texans will qualify for subsidies to buy insurance, but others won’t qualify for the subsidies. And the ones who won’t qualify are actually the poorest.

The reasons those adults fall through the cracks is because unlike other states, Texas opted not to expand Medicaid to the poorest working adults. 

Gov. Rick Perry’s office did not respond to a request for comment before deadline.

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