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HHS Sec. Sebelius Stops In San Antonio To Push Affordable Care Act Enrollment

Eileen Pace
TPR News
Bexar Co. Judge Nelson Wolff joins U.S. HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius at Bibliotech on her push to sign up more Texans for health care under the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius made a tour through San Antonio Friday to encourage more people to enroll in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Sebelius joined Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff on a final push before the March 31 open enrollment deadline to talk about health care and offer examples of people who are satisfied with the Affordable Care Act program.

“I’m spending a lot of time in Texas because I think Texans has the largest number of uninsured population in the country,” Sebelius said. “In the state of Texas, it’s about 5 million Texans without health insurance. And 92 percent of those individuals would qualify for financial help.”

Wolff said BexarBibliotech, where the press conference took place, has been successful in getting the word out.

“Just in this location alone we’ve had 500 people come in," Wolff said. "But what’s great about it, we’ve had 300 of those enroll in the program."

Still, Sebelius said, in San Antonio 344,000 people still lack health insurance.

While most the conversation centered around young people needing insurance, there is a population stuck in the middle. People between the ages of 50 and 65 -- who are not on Medicare -- still may be unable to afford the higher costs of a plan. But Sebelius said some in this age group also qualify for a subsidy.

“Families who make less than $92,000 a year and individuals who make less than about $46,000 a year are eligible for lowered premiums, for financial help each and every month,” Sebelius said. 

Both Wolff and Sebelius said they are still working to convince Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas legislature to reconsider Medicaid expansion, which she said would bring $18 million a day to the state for health care assistance.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.