On the first of October, Americans will begin signing up for medical cover through the Affordable Care Act. Those who would like the cover need to be signed up by the 15th of December in order to be covered at the start of 2014.
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The law, also known as Obamacare, is targeting most of the 50 million uninsured people in the USA, and promises to change the healthcare system and how it is provided in the country.
In summary, it forces most Americans to buy the coverage, then offers subsidies to pay for it, assists disease prevention and guarantees insurance for pre-existing conditions.
Yet the act – and Obamacare at large – is mired by a problem: A substantial amount of the population is unaware, or unimpressed by the movement.
This is currently seen most clearly in Texas; and junior United States Senator for the state Ted Cruz; one of the most vocal opponents of Obamacare.
Distrust and defiance
With their defiant and independent heritage, Texans hold a distrust of the US Government, and do not, as a rule, support a law which they do not understand.
But with six million uninsured in the state, it has the highest amount of uninsured parties in America.
Rick Perry, the Republican governor, has rejected plans to help shape a state insurance exchange and will not grow the state-federal health plan aimed at the poor – Medicaid.
The Texans who lack insurance coverage may be able to buy it through a U.S.-run exchange that will open early October. Yet reports suggest Texas has given no help to educate residents on the exchange.
Instead, the state’s top officials and representatives are focused on getting the law overturned.
Senator Cruz, who is pushing to have Obamacare defunded in Congress, appeared at a rally against the law on the 20th of August to a crowd of over 1,000 supporters in Dallas.
He had previously stated, “the people who are fighting the hardest against our effort to defund Obama, sadly, are Republicans.” He has also stated that Republicans need to “stand up and win the argument.”
The Obama administration has given Texas’ federally supported health clinics about US$ 10 million to hire workers to educate patients on the new law. The federal government is spending a further US$ 11 million on “navigators” who will help people understand and enroll in insurance plans. Whilst that amounts to US$ 0.80 per Texan, there is still little recognition the law is present.
Yet combating both Obamacare opponents and the lack of recognition are activists and campaign teams such as the Texas Organizing Project, part of a drive organised by Enroll America.
Comprising of around 20,000 volunteers, the Texan arm of the drive has so far contacted over 100,000 people to enroll in the programme – as stated the project’s Organising Director Allison Brim.
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