Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Senior Member of the House Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, released the following statement in reference to the State of Texas imposing tough regulations on "Navigators' - people who will help the pubic buy insurance in the marketplaces:
"The Governor and the state of Texas have refused to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act, even though the federal government would pay almost all of the cost and it would insure an estimated 1.5 million Texans who don't have coverage now. Most of the new recipients would be the working poor who earn up to 138 percent of federal poverty guidelines, which are $11,490 for a single person and $23,550 for a family of four.
"Passed in 2010, the Affordable Care Act is the most sweeping reform of American health care since the 1965 passage of Medicare and Medicaid. It seeks to stem the growth of health care costs by expanding the pool of the insured and to reduce the number of people who go broke because they get sick - the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States.
"Reforming our health care system is a historic opportunity to make health care more affordable and bring the kind of change we were all elected to achieve for the American people. Nothing could be more important, which is why we now want to educate the American people about the new law, help to implement it, and strengthen the hands of those who have worked for this historic reform. What the Governor and the State of Texas is doing to delay or make this the choice of choosing a health care plan is wrong.
"The Affordable Care Act is about securing affordable, quality and accessible health care as a right, not a privilege, for every American; yet it is also about wellness and prevention, economic security and entrepreneurship, the well-being of working families and the strength of the middle class. In short, this historic law is about a healthier America. We are now in the midst of changes that put health care in reach for all. Existing plans with larger employers are maintained and improved. Just as in the past, if you like your doctor, you can choose to stay with your doctor.
"Good things have already happened and there is more is to come: starting tomorrow consumer-friendly marketplaces will enable families and individuals who are uninsured or buy their own coverage to buy quality, affordable coverage. The majority of uninsured Americans will have access to subsidies to make their insurance more affordable. All plans in the marketplaces will offer at least the minimum essential health benefits. The insurance industry will be more transparent than ever, with summaries of coverage and premiums available for every plan in the marketplace. There will be no annual limits on coverage for any patient and everyone will be guaranteed the availability of health insurance, regardless of medical history or pre-existing conditions. I will be asking the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services to file a lawsuit to determine if the government of Texas and Governor Perry are violating the Civil Rights of Texans and breaking federal law."