Health Care in the 28th District of Texas
The 28th District of Texas faces unique health care challenges. The district has a large number of residents who live in medically underserved minority and rural communities. Our communities also have a large number of children and parents who are either uninsured or underinsured. In fact, 24.8% of all Texans do not have health coverage today, including 1.5 million uninsured children in the state.
While in the Texas Legislature, Congressman Cuellar was the coauthor of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that has expanded coverage to hundreds of thousands of Texas children. Since coming to Congress, Congressman Cuellar has been working to support America's health care system through legislation and federal grant opportunities. He is a strong supporter of our community health clinics and those medical centers which play a vital role in delivering health care, primary care and preventative care to our region.
There are several unique and significant health concerns among people in South Texas, such as diabetes, obesity, tuberculosis, and cancer. Congressman Cuellar is working to address and raise awareness for these prevalent health concerns in our region. In 2009, he started work on a WIC (Nutrition for Women, Infants and Children) pilot program to include glucose screening as part of the national nutrition program. Glucose screening is a critical first step in detecting juvenile and adult diabetes.
As you know, thousands of elderly Texans rely on Medicare to safeguard their physical health during their retirement years. Congressman Cuellar is committed to strengthening Medicare for our seniors and will ensure that the federal government honors that obligation.
Be informed on the new Small Business Health Care Tax Credit created in the Affordable Care Act
Small businesses want to provide health coverage to their workers but face challenges in doing so. The credit is worth up to 35% of the health insurance premium costs a small business incurred for insuring its employees in 2010. Starting in 2014, the credit will cover up to 50% of premium costs.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit will provide $40 billion over the next ten years to help eligible small businesses defray the costs of providing insurance to their employees.
Providing health care coverage—a qualifying employer must contribute an amount equal to at least 50 percent of the cost of employee-only health insurance for covered workers.
Firm size—a qualifying employer must have less than the equivalent of 25 full-time workers (for example, an employer with fewer than 50 half-time workers may be eligible).
Average annual wage—a qualifying employer must pay average annual wages below $50,000 for a full-time worker.
Both taxable (for-profit) and taxexempt firms qualify—taxable small businesses may be eligible for a credit of up to 35 percent of premium costs for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. In 2014, this rate increases to 50 percent. Taxexempt firms may receive a credit of up to 25 percent for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. In 2014, this rate increases to 35 percent.
Small employers must use IRS Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums. Small businesses will include the amount of the credit as part of the general business credit on their income tax returns.
Update on Health Care Reform in Congress:
On February 25th, House and Senate leaders of both parties met with President Obama at the Blair House to discuss moving forward with comprehensive health reform.
On March 18th, House Democrats unveiled legislation to improve the Senate-passed bill achieving our three key goals—affordability for the middle class, accessibility for all Americans, and accountability for the insurance industry.
Health insurance reform puts American families and small business owners—not the insurance companies—in control of their own health care.
Making health insurance affordable for middle class and small businesses—one of largest tax cuts for health care in history—reducing premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
- Reform gives millions of Americans access to affordable insurance choices just as big businesses have—through a new competitive health insurance market that keeps costs down.
- Reform will hold insurance companies accountable to keep premiums down and prevent denials of care and coverage, including for pre-existing conditions.
- Reform will improve Medicare benefits with lower prescription drug costs for those in the ‘donut hole,’ better chronic care, free preventive care, and nearly a decade more of solvency for Medicare.
- Reform will reduce the National Deficit by $138 billion over the next ten years, and by $1.2 trillion more over the following decade; reining in waste, fraud and abuse, paying for quality over quantity of care.
- Failure to enact reform means continued double digit premium increases—some as high as 60%, arbitrary loss of coverage, and huge increases in the national deficit.
On March 21, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconcilation Act of 2010. To read more about the bill passing the house, click here.
Learn More About the Legislation:
Bill Text (Posted on Rules.House.gov on March 18, 2010 at 2:07pm):
Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 Text
Text of the Senate Amendments to H.R. 3590 (Senate health bill)
Four Key Points
Full CBO Score
3 Page Summary
Reconciliation Key Improvements to Senate Bill
What Does Reform Mean to Me?
Health Care Reform for Seniors
Health Care Reform for Young Adults
Health Care Reform for American Families
Health Care Reform for Rural Americans
Health Care Reform for Hispanics
Health Care Reform for Early Retirees
Health Care Reform for Children
Myths Vs. Facts
Media Matters.Org Debunks the Myths on Health Care Reform
Politifact: Top 5 Lies on Health Care Reform
Top 10 Things You Should Know
TruthoMeter "Health Care Reform Does Not Raise Premiums"
Legal Analysis On Hyde Amendment/Abortion
Pro-Life Leaders: Senate Bills Upholds Hyde Amendment
Health Care Reform Will Not Affect Veterans or Tri-Care
MYTH: Health Insurance Reform Will Lead to a Government Takeover
MYTH: Health Insurance Reform Will Cut Medicare Benefits
MYTH: Health Care Reform Is Socialism
MYTH: Medicare Advantage Cuts
MYTH: Reform Will Undermind Medicare
The Need for Reform
The Cost of Inaction
National Economists Explain the Need for Reform
The Economic Case for Health Care Reform (Council of Economic Advisers)
Tools to Use
Washington Post: Calculate What This Bill Means for Me
Step by Step: See What Reform Does for You
9-09-2009 President Obama delivers health care address to Congress:
10-12-2009 Cuellar Supports 72 Hour Measure for Final Health Care Reform Bill:
10-29-2009 House Introduces NEW Health Care Reform Bill:
11-04-09 Rules Committee Introduces Manager's Amendment:
02-22-10 President Obama Introduces Health Care Proposal:
03-18-10 Congress Introduces Reconcilation Bill:
Benefits of "Affordable Health Care for America Act"
In the 28th Congressional District of Texas
Provided by the Committee on Energy and Commerce
The Affordable Health Care for America Act could provide significant benefits to the 28th Congressional District of Texas: up to 12,600 small businesses could receive tax credits to provide coverage to their employees; 5,800 seniors would avoid the donut hole in Medicare Part D; 600 families could escape bankruptcy each year due to unaffordable health care costs; health care providers would receive payment for $47 million in uncompensated care each year; and 209,000 uninsured individuals could gain access to high-quality, affordable health insurance.
Help for small businesses. Under the legislation, businesses with up to 100 employees will be able to join the health insurance exchange, benefitting from group rates and a greater choice of insurers. There are 14,200 small businesses in the district that will be able to join the health insurance exchange.
Help for seniors with drug costs in the Part D donut hole. Each year, 5,800 seniors in the district hit the donut hole and are forced to pay their full drug costs, despite having Part D drug coverage. The legislation would provide them with immediate relief, cutting brand name drug costs in the donut hole by 50%, and ultimately eliminate the donut hole by 2019.
Strengthening Medicare: There are 94,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district. The health care reform legislation improves Medicare by providing free preventive and wellness care, improving primary and coordinated care, improving nursing home quality and strengthening the Medicare Trust Fund.
Health care and financial security. There were 600 health care-related bankruptcies in the district in 2008, caused primarily by the health care costs not covered by insurance. The bill provides health insurance for almost every American and caps annual out-of-pocket costs at $5,000 for single individuals and $10,000 per year for couples, ensuring that no citizen will have to face financial ruin because of high health care costs.
Relieving the burden of uncompensated care for hospitals and health care providers. In 2008, health care providers in the district provided $47 million worth of uncompensated care, care that was provided to individuals who lacked insurance coverage and were unable to pay their bills. Under the legislation, these costs of uncompensated care would be virtually eliminated.
Coverage of the uninsured. There are 267,000 uninsured individuals in the district, 34% of the district. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that nationwide, 97% of all Americans will have insurance coverage when the bill takes effect. If this benchmark is reached in the district, 209,000 people who currently do not have health insurance will receive coverage.
This analysis is based upon the following sources: the Gallup-Healthways Survey (data on the uninsured); the U.S. Census (data on small businesses); the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (data on the Part D donut hole, health care-related bankruptcies (based on analysis of PACER court records), and uncompensated care); and the House Committee on Ways and Means (data on the surtax).