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EL PASO (KDBC) — The latest health care legislation popularly known as “Obamacare” continues to cause controversy nationally and locally. Texas state republicans are working towards delaying the implementation of the law, El Paso leaders feel the process should continue.
According to local authorities the current conflict in Washington could potentially affect El Paso and the communities not only in health care issues but in federal government funding.
Reports indicate that 1 out of 3 El Pasoans don’t have health insurance. The elevated numbers of uninsured surpass 250 thousand. County commissioner Vince Perez says that is one of the biggest problems affecting the county.
“When they don’t have health insurance, when they can’t afford to go to the doctor that means when they get sick they end up going to the emergency room and that’s where tax payers come in taxpayers fund the county hospital UMC and whenever somebody doesn’t pay taxpayers have to foot the bill,” Perez said.
The affordable health care act that passed in 2010 requires most employers to provide coverage for workers. It also prohibits insurers from refusing coverage based on pre-existing conditions and has penalties for not acquiring insurance.
Texas governor Rick Perry and Texas senators have strongly opposed the law saying it will bring more issues and affect job creation.
"If you want people to get health insurance, the best way for them to get insurance is to get a job, and Obamacare is the biggest job killer in this country" Texas Senator Ted Cruz said.
House republicans in congress decided to approve the government funding with the condition of delaying the implementation of the health care law one more year.
El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke says the measure won’t pass in the senate which would mean the federal government would shut down.
“By hatching a one year delay of the President’s health care law Obamacare, republicans have almost insured that the federal government will shut down that provision will not pass the senate and the president will not sign that into law, “O’Rourke said.
Perez says that while Washington is looking for an agreement county is already working to reduce health care costs in El Paso with the construction of 3 new clinics that are expected to relief many.
“Commissioners Court authorized new clinics which cost about 150 million dollars. When you compare that to the 600 million we would spend over 10 years the commissioner’s court felt that was a good investment to build clinics in the neighborhood to encourage people that can’t afford healthcare to go see doctors so they don’t end up in the emergency room.” Perez concluded.
Congressman Beto O’Rourke said congress has until Tuesday to reach an agreement; he is proposing to pass the government funding and addressing health care concerns in different bills.
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