Like It Or Not, Obamacare Arrives in Houston on Tuesday


Even though opposition in the House of Representatives continues from some Houston area legislators, Houstonians working at the frontlines continue to move forward in preparation for the start of the Affordable Care Act’s Health Marketplaces.

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Photo: NPR

Carrie Feibel, KUHF/NPR
Two high-profile Texans are fighting the Affordable Care Act. Gov. Rick Perry has loudly dismissed the law, and fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz took to the Senate floor this week at length — 21 hours and 19 minutes to be exact.

On the other side of the issue, you have Rosy Mota and her clipboard, standing at the door of a CVS pharmacy in one of Houston’s Latino neighborhoods, stopping shoppers.

“Hello, would you like a brochure about the new health care coverage that’s coming into effect? We’ll be here if you have any questions,” she tells a customer.

Mota works for , a national organization that has from the Obama re-election campaign. The group has combined sophisticated data-mining techniques and digital maps to figure out where the uninsured in Houston live, down to the block and house level.

Enroll America has just seven workers for Houston’s 800,000 uninsured residents. But it is part of a coalition of organizations that includes the city health department, the county’s public clinics, and groups like the Urban League. They’re all trying to get the word out about health insurance marketplaces and help the uninsured buy coverage made possible by the health law. The exchanges are scheduled to open Oct. 1.

“Regardless of whether you are for the Affordable Care Act or you’re against the Affordable Care Act, we’re not looking at it that way,” says Houston health official . “We’re saying that, from a public health perspective, getting people insured and getting them into the system is a good thing to do.”

The state of Texas is not providing any money or staff to help people sign up. So the city is using federal money funneled through the United Way and also tapping its own resources.

In fact, it considers the project so important that it’s using the same command-and-control structure that it uses during hurricanes. Instead of shelters and relief centers, the city is compiling a list of block parties, church events and festivals where people can learn about how to sign up for Obamacare….
(Listen and read more of the story at NPR) 






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