© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

How The Affordable Care Act Is Affecting Texas

David Martin Davies
TPR News

Texas Matters: On this week's episode, we look at the ways the Affordable Care Act is affecting Texas, from a South Texas county that will be relying on the plan to service its employees, to efforts to get more of Texas' uninsured residents signed up for Obamacare.

Brooks County drops health coverage

Brooks County is in South Texas near the coast. It's not exactly on the border, but near enough to be heavily impacted by the cost of illegal immigration.

This week the county said it can’t afford health insurance for its employees and at the end of the month that benefit will go away. "We’re a self-funded plan, and last month we had $159,000 worth of claims, leaving us with a balance of $106,000, and that is not enough to fund the plan," according to County Judge Raul Ramirez. The county is recommending the employees sign up for the Affordable Care Act; its sign-up deadline coincides with the termination of their county-provided health insurance.

Push to get more Texans on ACA

March 31 is the deadline to sign-up for the Affordable Care Act, and the push is on by supporters of the ACA to get folks on board.

The latest total for enrollees is 4.2 million – the Obama administration had set its sights on 6 million. Texas leads the nation in the percentage of uninsured residents. Around the state and across the nation, there are hundreds of events looking to enroll the uninsured.

Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat that represents the San Antonio-Austin corridor, is attending such an event on Saturday in San Antonio.

Will Obamacare success translate into Latino votes for Democrats?

Latinos are a big target for enrollees with the Affordable Care Act in Texas. They are the most likely population not to be insured. And if the ACA is a success, it could be seen as one more reason why the Republican party would have a tough time attracting Latino voters.

As Texas is undergoing a shift to a voting age minority-majority population, some say that demographic shift could turn the state from Deep Red to Baby Blue.

Dante Chinni wrote about that transformation recently in the Wall Street Journal.

Chinni is the director of the American Communities Project at American University and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, the GOP targets another voting bloc

Republicans have no intention of letting that color change happen without a fight – and another front on that political battle ground is over the women’s vote. This week a new GOP political action committee was launched to target women voters in Texas. Katie Glueck joins us to talk about the GOP's tactics, which she wrote about in Politico.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi