U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a visit to Dallas’ historically black Paul Quinn College on Friday that 617,000 of Texas’ 5.7 million uninsured citizens are African American, and eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Sebelius also noted that of the 118,532 Texans who enrolled in a healthcare plan through the end of December, 74 percent received financial assistance.
The health secretary was in town promoting the Healthcare.gov and Cuidadodesalud.gov insurance marketplaces and the Affordable Care Act, whose open enrollment ends March 31.
“On the eve of Black History Month, I think we’re reminded of the Martin Luther King Jr. statement when he said, ‘Of all the forms of injustice, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane,'” Sebelius said. “We’ve made a lot of progress in the 50 years since that historic march on the mall, but this step with the Affordable Care Act and finally offering affordable health insurance to all of our citizens is another major milestone.”
Sebelius was joined by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas), NAACP Branch President Juanita Wallace, Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell, and Linda Goodson, an area Healthcare.gov navigator.
Johnson, who has ventured well outside the boundaries of her district to promote and drum up awareness before open enrollment ends, called the Affordable Care Act “the most important program of my adult life, because it means offering the opportunity for people to have access to healthcare.”
Dallas NAACP’s Wallace took the podium to promote Dallas NAACP Affordable Healthcare Project 2014, which was launched on Jan. 23 and is holding several events, passing out fliers, and phone-banking in an effort to enroll the 500,000 Dallas County residents without insurance. Wallace said that two events will be held at Paul Quinn College for people who wish to learn more about the ACA and enroll: one on Feb. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and another on March 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dallas NAACP is also looking for volunteers to work these events; interested parties can call the chapter office at (214) 916-9919.