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Affordable Care Act Returns to Texas Lawmakers' Agenda

Liang Shi for KUT News
The Texas Senate Affairs Committee heard testimony on the Affordable Care Act on Sept. 15, 2014.

Today, the Texas Senate Affairs Committee heard testimony on the Affordable Care Act – from enrollment numbers to costs to identity theft concerns. The public hearing comes after Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst asked lawmakers to study what he called “emerging negative impacts” of the law.

About 734,000 people in Texas signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act during the first enrollment period, and with another one about to begin, the Texas Department of Insurancesays Texas has roughly 200 state-certified navigators who help people use after taking federal and Texas-specific training courses.

Jamie Dudensing with the Texas Association of Health Plans told lawmakers enrollment is not the main concern.

"As far as our big caution on the ACA, coverage was not the miracle cure, that affordability is still a major problem," Dudensing said, adding that the Association is trying to help consumers increase their literacy about insurance.

Stacey Pogue is a health policy analyst with the Center for Public Policy Priorities, which supports the Affordable Care Act’s implementation.

"In general some rates are going up, some are going down, but that they’ve been modest in general and lower than the pre-ACA individual market rate increases we were seeing for several years before the ACA," she said.

Open enrollment and renewal begins on Nov. 15 and continues until Feb. 15.