Hundreds of El Pasoans gather to talk about health care problems in the Borderland

KDBC
Saturday, July 26, 2014 - 8:04pm

Texas is at the top of the list for having the highest percentage of uninsured people in country, but on Saturday, El Pasoans got together to do something about it.

Dozens turned out to address that and other issues during an educational forum.

Organizers said it's everyone's job, not just health providers and politicians, to make important changes in the community.

That's why they say they were happy with the turnout at Saturdya morning's event.
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Xavier Miranda was one of about 120 in attendance.

"It's kind of dry information at first, but the way they put every day applications to it, it was very effective," he said.

The panel included guests from Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, Emergence Health Network and University Medical Center.

"It was an opportunity to discuss, to get creative, get very progressive about the ideas and possible solutions for what needs to be done in our community," said La Fe spokesperson Estela Reyes.

They talked about a number of health related issues: like the Affordable Care Act and health care for the mentally ill, the poor, and the underinsured.

"To find way for people who need health care to navigate that system, because it is a very confusing system," said Connie Crawford, an attorney for UMC.

One of the more pressing topics: the doctor shortfall in the Borderland.

"We need more community leaders to come forward and communicate together to work together with people around the state to try and get a better system of health care," said organizer and UTEP professor, Kathy Statudt.

One of those leaders in attendance was Texas State Senator Jose Rodriguez.

"Certainly a lot of the barriers to healthcare, access to health care that we heard today, can be solved by our state legislature,” he said.

But he also thinks those problems can be solved locally.

"We need to open up more slots in our medical schools," said Rodriguez.

Organizers hope people, like Miranda, will take initiative when it comes to health care problems.

"It's important for us as citizens and tax payers to pay attention to what is going on," he said.

Organizers said the most important is to talk to your representative.

Texas is one of a handful of states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. 

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