HOUSTON (AP) — If Texas wants to tailor its own expansion of health care coverage through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), then it’s now up to state leaders to reach out to the federal government to have a dialogue, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday.
During a visit to Houston promoting the implementation of the health care law with local leaders and community groups, Sebelius said the Obama administration remains eager to have conversations with Texas about expanding health care coverage in the state.
But, she said, key discussions about expanding Medicaid to provide health insurance to those who cannot afford it must first occur at the state level, not between Washington, D.C., and Texas.
She said conversations must take place between Texas legislators and leaders in the business, medical and faith communities to come up with a plan “that looks uniquely Texan.”
“We are eager to have those conversations,” she said while visiting a Houston health center and announcing the “Healthy Young America” video contest, which is aimed at showing young adults the benefits of the new health care law. “But I think they need to start with a Texas group coming together and talking to us.”
Open enrollment under the health care overhaul law begins Oct. 1. The act requires state-based health insurance exchanges, modeled on travel web sites, where people can compare and enroll in insurance plans. Coverage under these new insurance policies begins Jan. 1.