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TX Healthcare Reform Supporters Want to Clear Up Confusion

March 14, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas - This month marks the start of the third year of the Affordable Care Act, although there's still a lot of confusion about what the act does - and doesn't - provide Texans.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study found consumers may not understand many of its key provisions. Phillip Martin, research and policy director for Progress Texas, says one of the most common misconceptions is that it's essentially a government-run health-insurance plan.

"The Affordable Care Act allows you to keep your health insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act ensures that you will never be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, and that you no longer have a lifetime limit on your health insurance plan."

As for one of the most criticized aspects of the act - the mandate that everyone obtain insurance - Martin says many people don't yet realize they'll get assistance if they can't afford it.

Texas has the nation's lowest percentage of residents with health-insurance coverage. Martin says the Affordable Care Act will raise that figure from 75 percent to more than 90 percent. He admits that the act comes with initial costs to states, but insists it will produce savings in the long run.

"In fact, nationwide, the cumulative cost of health care over the next 10 years has been reduced by $1.7 trillion. The Affordable Care Act will help save money in the long run, and provide people more coverage and more health care."

Martin thinks one of the main reasons there are so many misconceptions about the act is that parts of it don't take effect until 2014. Already, however, he says more than 6 million Texans have seen improvements to their preventive-care coverage, and about 300,000 young adults have gained insurance through their parents' plans.

The Kaiser Family Foundation Survey is online at kff.org.

Peter Malof, Public News Service - TX