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Council discusses raises, health insurance

Diane Xavier | 9/30/2013, 7:36 a.m.

Marjorie Petty, Region VI director of the Health and Human Services, stressed the importance of getting people health insurance with this new law.

“The problem is that 129 million Americans who have pre-existing conditions were uninsured and were excluded from health insurance before the Affordable Care Act,” Petty said. “Also, premiums had more than doubled over the last decade, while insurance company profits were soaring. Tens of millions of Americans were underinsured and 50 million Americans had no insurance at all.”

Petty said the ACA will have positive effects on citizens.

“This is a new way to get health insurance,” she said. “Enrollment starts Oct.1 and coverage begins as early as January 2014. About 25 million Americans and 4.8 million people in Texas will have access to quality health coverage. Also, 90 percent of people who were underinsured will qualify for discounted insurance.”

People can enroll through four different methods which include online at http://www.healthcare.gov, by phone through the number 1-800-318-2596, by mail, and also in person.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins was also trying to get the word out about enrollment.

“This is the law of the land,” Jenkins said. “We have reached out to several

organizations to get the word out. We have reached to hospitals, churches and schools. Our goal is to develop an outreach strategy to encourage enrollment for uninsured Dallas County residents. This is an opportunity to improve public health and economic strength.”

Councilmember Vonciel Jones Hill of District 3 was interested in getting the word out.

“I need to know how to best get the information out to my constituents,” she said.

Hill said she wanted to see changes in the health care system so everyone can afford health care in this country.

“I had to go to the emergency room one time late at night,” Hill said. “I was there from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. and the bill came out to be $5,000. I was blessed to have insurance but still had to pay $1,000 out of pocket. I also have been blessed to live abroad and when I did, I walked in as an ex-patriot but was also given full health care. What we have done in America regarding health insurance and care makes no sense to me.”

Mayor Mike Rawlings said he wants the city of Dallas to make progress when it comes to getting people health insurance.

“I would like to go from worst to best,” he said.