Politics or People?

How Val Verde County, Texas Stands To Benefit from Obamacare
While conservatives put politics over people, Rep. Pete Gallego (D-TX) is putting his constituents first.
Starting October 1, millions of Americans will finally be able to sign up to purchase quality, affordable health care for the first time when the new Obamacare marketplaces open for enrollment. Many of these same Americans and others will be eligible for subsidies that will make coverage even more affordable. And come January 1, 2014, the worst abuses of the insurance industry, including denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions, will be history. But many conservatives in Congress and their allies are refighting old political battles and refusing to help people and businesses from even finding out how the law will work and how to take advantage of its benefits. Sadly, many of these opponents of Obamacare represent counties with some of the highest rates of uninsured people in the nation. Out of the more than 3,100 counties in the nation, the residents of Val Verde County, Texas are among those who stand to benefit the most from Obamacare. Democratic Rep. Gallego, who represents Val Verde County, is doing his job and helping his constituents take advantage of the law and its benefits - like free preventative care, lower premiums and ensuring coverage for pre-existing conditions. Rep. Gallego recognizes that Obamacare is the law of the land and it is time to make sure it works for people and businesses in his district. It’s time for conservatives to stop refighting old political games and start following Rep. Gallego’s lead to make sure their constituents have the information they need to take advantage of the benefits and enroll in health care.

Val Verde County Facts:
12,708 are uninsured. Of the 41,070 people in Val Verde County under age 65, 30.9 percent are uninsured, a rate that is among the worst 2 percent of more than 3,100 counties in the nation.i 6,461 women are uninsured. In Val Verde County, 31.0 percent of women under age 65 are uninsured — placing it in the worst 2 percent among all counties in the nation and the 44th worst county out of over 3,100 counties overall. ii 6,277 young people are uninsured. In Val Verde County, 47.0 percent of young people age 18 to 39 –and 49.4 percent of men in that age group – lack health insurance. That places the county in the worst 2 percent among all counties in the nation.iii 5,638 uninsured are eligible for subsidies or tax credits. In Val Verde County, 31.2 percent of those making between 138 and 400 percent of the federal poverty line – a key group that will qualify for insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act – are uninsured. Among this group, it is 84th worst out of all counties in the nation.iv 12,405 Hispanics are uninsured. In Val Verde County, 32.3 percent of Hispanics are uninsured.v High rate of heart disease. Val Verde County’s heart disease mortality rate of those under age 75 is 76.8 per 100,000 people – 17 percent above the national average.vi

High rate of diabetes. The county has a rate of diabetes prevalence that is over 20 percent above the national average, at 10.0 percent of the population.vii High rate of stroke. Val Verde County’s stroke mortality rate of those under age 75 is 12.5 per 100,000 people – 6 percent over the national average.viii

Rep. Pete Gallego
Democratic Rep. Gallego, who represents Val Verde County, recognizes that Obamacare is the law of the land and that it’s his job to make sure it works for his constituents and that they understand how to take advantage of its benefits: “We should work to fix what doesn't work; not repeal what does.”ix “Parents can now to keep their children under age 26 on their family coverage.”x “Texans deserve to know that affordable health coverage options are available to them.”xi
Census Bureau, "Small Area Health Insurance Estimates," 2010. http://www.census.gov/did/www/sahie/data/interactive/ (last accessed July 2013). ii Ibid. iii Ibid. iv Ibid. v Census Bureau, "American Community Survey," 3-year estimates 2008-2010. Accessed using American Fact Finder: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml (last accessed July 2013). vi Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke Tables,” 3 -year estimates 20082010, http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/DHDSPAtlas/reports.aspx (last accessed July 2013). vii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Interactive Diabetes Atlases,” 2009, http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/atlas/ (last accessed July 2013). viii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke Tables,” 3 -year estimates 20082010, http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/DHDSPAtlas/reports.aspx (last accessed July 2013). ix Pete Gallego, “Gallego Votes to Keep Health Care Protections for Texans,” 16 May 2013, http://gallego.house.gov/mediacenter/press-releases/gallego-votes-to-keep-health-care-protections-fortexans?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed (last accessed July 2013). x Ibid. xi Pete Gallego, “Health Centers in TX-23 Counties to receive $1.66 million,” 12 July 2013, http://gallego.house.gov/mediacenter/press-releases/gallego-announces-146120-in-federal-funds-for-united-medical-centers-in (last accessed July 2013).
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