U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius says only about 200,000 of the five million Texans who lack health insurance under Obamacare have enrolled in the plan, but she said those numbers are picking up.
"What we are seeing is, each and every month enrollment getting far stronger,” Sibelius said during a stop at the Bexar County BiblioTech in San Antonio.
Sibelius said many of the bugs which caused problems during the Affordable Care Act rollout in October have been repaired, and she said signing up for health insurance on the English and Spanish web sites is now a lot easer.
"With a smoothly functioning web site, it takes people about thirty minutes to complete enrollment," she said.
And Sibelius took a pot shot at that Florida restaurant chain which has started adding an "Obamacare" surcharge to its bills. She says they are making a 'political statement,' and she said with a lot more people with health insurance in Florida, more people may be financially able to go to restaurants instead of spending all of their money on medical care.
Sibelius also urged Texas to expand its Medicaid program. Expansion of Medicaid is included in the ACA and the federal government will fund it, but Gov. Perry has declined to do so, saying expanding Medicaid would be like 'adding to the passenger list on the Titanic.'
Local attorney Molly Neck, who said that "I view health care as a complete human right," told of losing her insurance when she left a law firm two years ago and being unable to find insurance for less than $400-$500 a month due to pre existing conditions. She says being able to sign up for Obamacare has been a life changer for her.
"If the ACA wasn't around, I still wouldn't have insurance," she said.